Thursday, July 23, 2009

Please, give back our park

Please, give back our park

Jayanagar children flood BBMP chief with appeals of...

Sudipa Chakraborty. Bangalore

"We beg you, sir. Please do not destroy our playground. If you build an office or a mall here, where will poor children like us play?" This is no dialogue from a film, but an excerpt from eight-year-old Somesh's letter to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner, Bharat Lal Meena.
This letter gives an insight into an incredible fight between two very unlikely parties over a small playground in Jayanagar — the mighty BBMP versus helpless children from slums.
From holding vociferous protests to writing personal letters to meeting the commissioner, these kids have done it all to save their play area from being encroached by the BBMP, but to no avail. As per the order, the small park, with its play equipment, will soon give way to a BBMP service centre.
On July 17, around 100 kids from the neighbouring slum areas of Thilaknagar and Jayanagar staged a protest against the BBMP encroachment in the park. Following that, the slum children met Meena to persuade him to stop the ongoing construction work on July 18. More than 40 kids also sent personal letters to the commissioner to stall the construction work.
But, even after the commissioner promised to take an impartial decision on this, the construction work has only gathred pace in the last couple of days. Roshni Nuggehalli, activist, Hasiru Usiru, who had accompanied the kids to the commissioner's office, told DNA, "We were happy when Meena promised to take an impartial decision and said work would be stopped till then. But, we were shocked to see construction work going on even on Sunday. This is the only place where these kids can play. Then why is BBMP so insensitive?"
Meanwhile, more than 100 residents from Ushas Apartment have also sent a letter to Meena to restore the children's park, strongly requesting that the construction work be stopped immediately. "It is a very laudable move to launch a citizens' service centre. But this location will prove to be a disservice to us. Therefore, please consider alternative locations... there is a BBMP office on 18th Main Road... (and) some empty land next to Thilaknagar Police Station, 200 metres away," the letter said.


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