Women corporators are Corporators only in name

Bangalore mirror a leading newspaper of Times of India, recently brought out some strange and shocking news about women corporators in Bangalore. One third of Bangalore’s corporators are women. Most of these women, however, are corporators only in name. Following is abstract of news published by Bangalore Mirror:

On Sunday (yes, we deliberately chose an ‘off day’), Bangalore Mirror did a sting by calling up 30 women corporators. We posed as residents who had urgent problems. To make it as clinical as possible, we chose a wide cross-section of wards that reflects the demographic and socio-economic diversity of the city. About 50 per cent of the women corporators didn’t even take the calls. Among the rest, about 80 per cent were represented by a close male relative. The men who answered our calls were mostly husbands. All these men were clearly doing more than switchboard duties. They were the actual power wielders as evidenced by their tone, which ranged from the assured to the strident. Only 20 per cent of the women corporators answered the call themselves. They responded with alacrity that almost compensated for the disappointing show of their peers. It shows how vibrant the corporation would become if the gender gap is bridged in substance as well.

1. NAGARATHNA LOKESH WARD NUMBER 102, MAGADI ROAD
Who answered the call: Husband (name: Lokesh) What he said: Madame is not here. I am taking care of all the work. Nagarathna is my wife; she is the corporator. But you can tell me what your problems are, I will solve them for you. I am the one doing all the running around for her. You won’t be able to talk to her.

2. LALITHA WARD NUMBER 6, THANISANDRA
Who answered the call: Husband (name: Mukunda Rao) What he said: Why do you want to speak to my wife? I am the councillor here although she holds the seat. I’ve been working all the time for the ward. If you want anything you tell me. She cannot come on the line.

3. QUEEN ELEZIBETH WARD NUMBER 96, RAMACHANDRAPURAM (NEAR RAJAJINAGAR)
Who answered the call: Husband (name: Chakravarthi) What he said: I used to be corporator in this area and I know about the problems here. No one knows as much about this area as I do. My wife is the corporator, but I am the one who takes care of the residents’ problems here.

4. JAYARATNA WARD NUMBER 108, RAJAJINAGAR
Who answered the call: Neighbour (name: ) What he said: She is not here. I am the one taking her calls now. I am her neighbour and I can answer your questions.

5.SHARADAMMA WARD NUMBER 12, CHIKKABANAVARA
Who answered the call: Relative (name: ) What he said: I am her relative and I use this phone. She is out of town for two days.

6. MUNIRATHNAMMA WARD NUMBER 22, NEAR RT NAGAR
Who answered the call: Husband (name: Venkatarama) What he said: I know you have a water problem. Since my wife cannot handle everything, I do many things on her behalf.

7. LAKSHMI WARD NUMBER 44, MAHALAKSHMI LAYOUT
Who answered the call: Husband (name: Chikkegowda) What he said: She is not here. She doesn’t carry her phone. I am her husband and you can call me on this number in the morning and we can see if something can be done about your problem.

8. S SHILAJA WARD NUMBER 48, NEAR R T NAGAR
Who answered the call: Husband (name: Srinivas Murthy) What he said: I understand that you have problems with the newly laid road. We are going to take action about it soon. Please drop a letter with your problem stated in it and I will take a look at it.

9. GEETHA SHASHIKUMAR WARD 81, ANANTHAPURA
Who answered the call: Husband (name: Shashikumar) What he said: My wife has stepped out for some work. You can tell me your problem. If the water problem is in Attur layout, it is not a big thing. We are getting borewells installed

THE ONES WHO RESPONDED

1. INDIRA WARD NUMBER 7, BYATARAYANAPURA
What she said: I am the corporator of this area and I’m accessible on all days. We corporators don’t have a holiday on Sunday. There are many issues in the area and I want to understand them. All residents are available on Sundays and this is the time we can interact with them.

2. ROOPADEVI WARD NUMBER 105, DASARAHALLI

What she said: This is Dasarahalli area and everyone knows our area’s problems. If water is an issue, I will speak with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board. Don’t worry about it. Just call me tomorrow morning as today is Sunday and engineers are not available.”

3. GOWRAMMA WARD NUMBER 32, KAVAL BYRASANDRA
Who attended the call: Son (name:) What he said: My mother will call you back in 20 minutes.
Gowramma did call back in 20 minutes. “I was out on some errand but if you have any problem please give me your address. I will make sure that BWSSB officials come there and solve your problem.”

4. B N KOKILA WARD NUMBER 151, KORAMANGALA

What she said: In which crossroad do you live? Just drop a letter to my office and we will take a look at the problem.

5. GEETHA VIVEKANANDA WARD 81, ANNASANDRAPALYA (HAL)
What she said: In this area, people are struggling to get water. For me, the concern is to get water to the area first, purity comes next. In places like Kolar, the fluoride content is very high in the water, probably, in your case it is the same. Presently, I cannot do anything about it.

That last was a matter-of-fact response. Blunt but honest. A response that is preferable anytime to apathy.

Courtesy: Bangalore Mirror

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