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Leaking walls; HMT residents face sleepless nights

By Jenika Shah

Bengaluru, Sep 12, 2016: People living in the HMT (Hindustan Machines Tools Ltd.) quarters, near Jalahalli, are having sleepless nights due to the continuous dripping of water through the walls in a few houses. Some houses have small cracks which have led to leakage in the quarters.
According to Amulya, a resident of HMT quarters, HMT Ltd. does not provide them with any extra money or compensation for repairing the houses or for maintenance. Due to this, they have to pay from their own pocket to repair the houses.

Harshawardhan is another resident who has been living in an HMT quarter since the last five years. He says that the water leakage problem has been there since they moved in. He says , "Because of the water leakage problem , small cracks have developed on the roof of our house. We have complained about this two to three times to the common service division of HMT but no repair work has been done."

Mr. Umesh, the Deputy Chief Engineer (Human Resource & Equal opportunity) of HMT ltd said, “Complaints which are registered with the common service division are solved as and when there is availability of finances.” He added that HMT was responsible for maintenance and repairing of those quarters.
 The quarters are owned by HMT Ltd, and are given to the workers of HMT. Three months back their watch factory shut down after which many houses were vacated. The vacant quarters were then allotted to the state government employees. Currently, 140 quarters are provided to the state government employees who are working at the Vidhana Soudha.

Mangala, wife of a government worker who works in Vidhana Soudha said that during rainy season, walls of their houses leak a lot due to which furniture in their house gets wet. She further said, "We have been staying here since 20 years. The leakage problem started five years ago but no provisions were made by the HMT to seal the leakage. Because of the damp conditions following the leakage, some wooden furniture was also destroyed. "
According to the HMT common service division, there are in total four sectors of living quarters. Out of a total 1547 quarters, only 658 are occupied by HMT workers and government employees. The other sectors are lying vacant and have not been allotted to anyone. The watch factory is closed but the tools factory is still working.
The 55-year old quarters are allotted to government workers according to their designation. Some employees have quarters that cover 678 sq feet area, while others cover 450 sq feet area.

According to an expert in urban planning, Mr.Pavan Shrinath, who works with Takshashila, government and its companies are usually not good at providing housing and maintenance services. He added, "Even if housing facilities are provided, it is often of low quality. This means that employees need to pay out of their pocket to get better services. This leads crises as can be seen in the HMT quarters."

He also said, "The primary responsibility to fix these problems is that of HMT (and by extension, its parent ministry in the Government of India ) They need to spend on an 'Annual Maintenance Contract' that is tendered out and given to a competent management agency. This will likely be an expensive proposition.”


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