Monday, August 31, 2009

Wasted BDA site makes residents see red

Wasted BDA site makes residents see red
S Lalitha, Bangalore, Aug 31, DHNS:

Since 1992 the residents of 7th ‘B’ Main in the third block of Koramangala have been stuggling to protect a 600 ft x 150 ft land meant for a park which has been lying vacant and wasted. Snakes, weeds and garbage are found on this plot.

The struggle began in 1992 when the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) tried to auction it off as a site. This was, despite the property papers given to owners by the City Improvement Trust Board (later changed to BDA) in 1976 clearly specifying a park. The masterplan made by the BDA in 1982 also made a mention of the park in the area.

Syed Altaf, whose house borders the plot, filed a case in the High Court insisting that the area be developed only as a park. “This ensured a stay on the auction of this particular plot,” he said.

The court had passed a verdict six months ago in favour of the residents, insisting that the site be developed into a park in the interest of the public. Residents charge that neither the BDA or the BBMP has made efforts in this direction. “The residents are even willing to develop and maintain it into a park if BBMP or BDA permits us to do so,” Altaf added.

Social activist, Doris Raj, pointed out that this thickly populated residential area was in dire need of a park. “Police have a tough time evicting hawkers and keeping the place free from anti-social elements.”

Dr Samuel Paul, founder of the Public Affairs Centre and a resident here, informed that a former BDA chairman had allotted this particular site to his family member. “BDA played a commendable proactive role, filed a case and got the land back,” he said.

Residents charge that repeated requests to the BDA to hand it over to the BBMP for conversion as a park have gone unheeded. BDA Commissioner Siddiah asserted that the land was the property of BDA. “We are yet to take a decision whether to hand it over to BBMP to develop it into a park.”

Joint Director of Horticulture, BBMP, A Narayanaswamy, said residents have sent representations to the BBMP Commissioner to develop it into a park. “I think the process of handing over the land to the BBMP is in progress. If we are handed over the plot, we will ensure a park is in place here.”

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