Land row stalls Krishna leela park
Land row stalls Krishna leela park
By: B V Shiva Shankar Date: 2009-07-20 Place:Bangalore
A Disneyland-style Krishna theme park has run into a real estate roadblock, with Congress strong man D K Shivakumar standing firmly in its way
Congress leader D K Shivakumar is doing all he can to stop Iskcon from building an ambitious theme park on Kanakapura Road, accusing them of developing real estate illegally.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) says, however, that the Rs 350-crore project on 28 acres of government-sanctioned land is an attempt to promote the cultural heritage of India.
"Some people are trying to politicise the issue, and I don't know why Shivakumar is spearheading it," said Chanchalapathi Das, vice-president of Iskcon.
Though the government allotted land for the project, trouble began when the society started developing residential and commercial complexes near the project site.
Objecting to Iskcon's real estate plans, Shivakumar reportedly issued a warning to the society to stop the entire project including the theme park. His henchmen reportedly threatened them of dire consequences if they failed to fall in line.
But Das said the real estate development was to fund the theme park. "We cannot depend on donations alone for such a big project. We need extra resources and the surplus from the real estate development will be used for the project," he told MiD DAY.
In or out? One of the options for a wing entrance in the proposed Krishna Leela Park
He saw nothing illegal as the real estate complex was on the society's private land which it had bought for
Rs 40 crore, the market price. The society paid Rs 12 crore for the government land.
Das said there was no access to the park from Kanakapura Road and Iskcon had to buy the private land to create a link between the road and the project.
'Won't allow it'
Shivakumar, the state Congress working president in whose constituency the proposed project is to come up, is not buying the argument.
"If religious institutions start doing real estate business, what will be our future? I suspect they are selling government land as well. We cannot allow such things to happen," he said.
Apparently, he has vowed to stop the theme park project but leaders in the ruling BJP are strongly behind it.
The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for the first week of August when the society celebrates Janmashtami.
The Krishna Leela Park which will "rival the world's best theme parks" like Disneyworld, Epcot and Universal Studios will take visitors back to the mythological world of Lord Krishna.
Vrindavan, where Krishna spent his childhood, will be recreated with cows, Gopikas, the river Yamuna and Govardhana Hill, in an animated world that will give visitors a feel of life with the cowherd deity.
Visitors can also experience Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu. A vimana (ancient flight) will take them to a tall tower where they will get a 4-D experience after a sudden fall into darkness.
4-D is an extension of 3-D where the fourth dimension is a position in time and is at a right angle to the three axes.
There is a bitter legal battle on between the Mumbai and Bangalore branches of Iskcon over who controls the society's property, insiders say.
Shivakumar is said to be on the Mumbai side. "It is very unfortunate that we are embroiled in a property dispute when we should be immersed in spirituality," said Chanchalapathi Das, vice-president of Iskcon.