Residents associations, follow the leaders!

To the casual observer, it may appear that Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) in the city often work in silos; they are not often effective and find it tough to tackle larger issues. This may even be true.

However, over the past decade, Bangalore has been seeing more residents’ activism. Together, they tell a story of change.

For instance, more RWAs are now teaming up to form federations. The newest kid on the block is Bannerghatta Road Neighbourhoods Association or BANA.

Emerging networks

In the newer gated communities and apartments, the owners associations are networked well and reach out to their members over email regularly. They also have their hands full with crisis issues like water supply, Khata availability, etc.

RWAs usually focus on basic civic issues like non-pickup of garbage, street lights, and the occasional cultural activities for their individual micro areas. Federations help RWAs take on larger and policy issues across the local region itself. The HSR Layout federation and Forward 150 (Bellandur Ward) have already done valuable service as support networks. The JP Nagar VII and VIII phase federation is notable for its work on Akrama Sakrama.

A more recent stellar example from this week is the work of Citizens Action Forum (CAF). CAF has teamed up with the Nimma Bengaluru Foundation to send a consolidated set of inputs to the BDA for the city’s revised master plan. They demand that BDA develop a clear vision for the city and seek a consensus on that before getting into a detailed revision. See article on page 6 in this issue.

All of this is good. However, the examples are still few and far between. More and more RWAs need to form federations. The need of the hour that more associations get together to constructively engage the government on planning and neighbourhood improvement initiatives like lake rejuvenation.

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About Meera K 42 Articles
Meera K is the co-founder of Citizen Matters, the award-winning civic media platform. She also helped initiate Open City, an urban data platform ( Meera is an Ashoka Fellow, recognised for her work building open knowledge platforms that allow citizens to collaborate and improve their cities. She is Founder-trustee at Oorvani Foundation.