Monday, June 28, 2010

Bengaluru Days - Jalvayu Vihar in Bangalore - A lesson in self help and good management practices

Jalvayu Vihar, a residential colony of 540 houses spread over 22 acres was built in 1990 by the Air Force Naval Housing Board. The colony is located in Kamannahalli.The apartments were built for the officers and men of Air Force and the Navy. The colony came into existence at a time when gated colonies of this scale were new to Bangalore and the city was yet to come to terms with gated colonies and high rise buildings. The colony has over a hundred clusters and each cluster has four to five apartments. Built in stone, the clusters give a very robust appearance of a medieval fortress. The excellent ratio between the built-up area and the open land allows the colony to have broad roads, walk ways, jogging track, gym, community hall, market area; children play ground, school and the main play ground with an amphitheatre. One cannot ask for more.
Originally the colony was inhabited by two kinds of people, senior members from the Air Force, and the Navy. Over a period of time the houses have changed hands and a number of civilians have also moved into the colony. The colony has been largely influenced by the military background of its residents in its day to day functioning and management. The colony is managed by a President and Board of Members elected by the residents. Years of military service helps in running the colony in an efficient, disciplined and friendly manner. The BOM is supported by a host of support staff such as office assistants, plumbers, electricians, mason, gardeners and conservancy and so on.

The Pilgrim Fathers though it fit to plant various kinds of trees. It is now 20 years old and the colony is really looking beautiful with Bougainvillea climbing the entire 1 KM fence around the colony with its attractive red, purple, white, yellow and pink leaves. We have more than a 700 trees making JVV one of the most wooded and green colonies in Bangalore. We have assorted trees such as the Banyan, Gulmohar, Mango, Colville’s Glory, Copper Pod, Jacaranda, Tabebuia, Neem, Jack Fruit, Drum Stick, Coconut to name a few. Early morning walkers will go to any length to exalt the virtues of walking in this garden and sucking lungful of fresh air and dozes of ozone. In addition, majority of the residents have their own little gardens adding to the overall beauty of the colony. We have many birds visiting us, such as the Parrots, Myna, Koel, Hoopoe and at times the Robins.

A band of dedicated conservancy staff toil each day to keep JVV immaculate and tidy. You will never find loose paper, stray plastic or even dry leaves on the road or in the open areas. The colony is litter free and it gives us a sense of pride that we belong to this place. The residents willingly participate in maintaining the colony clean. I must mention that the garbage is removed from the door step and segregated in a common place prior to being loaded into BBMP carriers. As the garbage is not stowed any where for a period of time we have successfully eliminated all stray dogs from the colony – a very big achievement indeed. However our cat population has increased.We have a doggi – do pit for all the dog lovers to take their dear ones. Regular fumigation keeps the mosquitoes away. The staff is looked after well and a majority of them have worked in JVV for more than 15 years.

Apart from the web site we have a very efficient process in place for reporting defects, their rectification and follow up if required. All defects are attended within in 24 hrs and a completion report rendered. All essential services such as pumps, community centre, common area lighting etc have a back up supply provided by a generator. We have managed very well on the water front too. The main water tower representing a missile meets the bulk of the requirement and augmented by bore wells. The residents are extremely conscious of the growing importance of water and its judicious use. We have put in place Rain Water Harvesting and are seriously considering Recycling of Water in the years to come.

We have a great community life; the young parents meet every evening with their children in the park. It’s a common sight to see the senior citizens sitting in large numbers on the benches and chairs spending their evenings in the company of each other. We have a very efficient security system in palace to ensure the residents spend their retired life in peace and tranquillity. We celebrate Deepavali, Ganapati, X Mass and New Year in a big way. We always look forward to the JVV annual day when the whole colony is lit up and the play ground is filled with eateries, shops selling artifacts, big companies showcasing their products. The variety entertainment is another big attraction with quiz, dances and skits. The two days of celebration is attended by one and all.

We have a number of regimental shops inside the colony providing us with our daily needs of provisions, vegetables, fruits, laundry, ATM and Post office . Outside we have number of good restaurants, lounge bars, eateries, ice cream parlours, bakeries, Pizza joints, garment shops, banks and the rest.

The residents play a very pro active role in the overall functioning of JVV.

We have our share of politics, groupism, in fighting,black sheep, rotten eggs and bad apples. But in the end the military discipline and camaraderie ingrained in all of us over the years, acts as a governor to ensure better sense prevails for the good of the community.

In any colony there are various types of residents, we have ours. The Auditor. They are self appointed watch dogs who will never miss an opportunity to point out mistakes and irregularities. There is yet another tribe “The Know All” whose main duty is to recommend various improvements ranging from Solar Power to Vertical Parking. The “King Maker” who immediately starts searching for the new king , the “Yes Man” who agrees with all and sundry and finally the poor “Keen Kumar” who volunteered to stand for the election and takes up the thankless job of running the colony.
All things said, over the years we have created a very dignified, comfortable and secure colony to spend our retired lives. I understand that a Japanese delegation was brought to JVV many years back by a Karnataka State minister show casing Bangalore, they left impressed and the minister asked “Why can’t whole of Bangalore be like JVV”.

I also ask the same question.

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