It was a Saturday morning, the 10th of September. A small office building nestled in a cosy neighbourhood of Sanjaynagar started buzzing with activity, even as many people from across the city – from Whitefield, J P Nagar and Bellandur – started coming in. They were there to interact with the team that started with Cycle Day and went on to achieve many things. The story of citizens batting for sustainability in Sanjaynagar started unfolding in the words of the champions who spearheaded the campaign.
Sathya Sankaran, Subbaiah T S and Lalitha Mohan, who are among the untiring champions of the initiative, Citizens for Sustainability (CiFoS), took turns to explain what’s happening in Sanjaynagar. Listen to Sankaran talking about it.
Starting with Cycle Days
It all started with one woman, Geetha Gooty, a resident of Sanjay Nagar, approaching Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT) seeking permissions for conducting Cycle Day in Sanjaynagar.
Geetha had no clue how she would organise this event, but had the determination to do it. Armed with all the permissions in hand, she approached another resident. More people joined them, and a small group was formed.
The first Cycle Day happened in Sanjaynagar in April 2015. Its success charged up this group. They realised the potential of cycle days in uniting the community in and around Sanjaynagar. thus the work started, and today this small group of people named CiFoS ( Citizens for sustainability), has many achievements to their credit, along with 18 cycle days and open street events, and many added activities.
1. Walk to School: CiFoS , in partnership with Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF), Bangalore Political Action Comittee (B.PAC) and Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), launched a programme called ‘Walk to School on Saturday’ in Sanjaynagar, on 5th December, 2015. A large majority of children from seven schools in Sanjaynagar started walking to schools on Saturday. After the launch, many children continued to walk to school on Saturdays. Many children have now started walking shorter distances like going for tuition, bus stop etc. In many cases, parents have also started walking short distances influenced by the children. Slowly, but surely, a social change seems to be happening.
CiFoS is now working towards making Walk to School a daily affair and not just Saturdays. They held a meeting where they invited the managements of some key participating schools, DULT and Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP). The school managements have promised to co operate and support them in making this happen, by providing cycle stands and other facilities wherever possible.
2. NIP Award: CiFoS participated in a competition called Neighbourhood Improvement Partnership (NIP) conducted by United Technologies and they won a grant for putting up multiple cycle stands and other related activities in Sanjaynagar.
3. Solid Waste Management: CiFoS team is working closely with the BBMP to improve the waste management initiatives and plastic ban in Radhakrishna Temple (ward 18) and Sanjayanagar (ward 19).
4. Civic Hub: BPAC, in partnership with CiFoS, has set up a Civic Hub, intended to help the local community in resolving civic issues and working on improving the neighbourhood.
5. Infrastructure improvement : CiFoS has been in talks with DULT for a comprehensive mobility plan for the Hebbal constituency. Good progress has been made in this; drawings for redesigning the Sanjaynagar main road have already been sent to the BBMP by DULT.
6. Vending zone: CiFoS has been in talks with the vendors on Sanjaynagar main road to get their consent in allocating specific vending zones which will help in decongesting the main road.
All these initiatives started with one Cycle Day. This is just the beginning, says the team. If your neighborhood needs such a system, there is no other shortcut – just team up with the like-minded and start doing it, results will be amazing!