Friday, October 23, 2009

Leave our Cubbon Park alone

Leave our Cubbon Park alone

PK Surendran. Bangalore

The seemingly clandestine attempt to acquire green land in Cubbon Park for commercial purposes has raised the eyebrows of several leading personalities in Bangalore.
The Namma Metro project is set to claim at least 2,128 sq metres of park land on a permanent basis, while 11,150 sq metres will be claimed on a temporary basis, according to MG Kumar of India-International Law, the law firm which is fighting for the preservation of Cubbon Park on behalf of Bimal Desai, a city-based businessman-cum environment activist.
Bangalore's leading personalities have reacted to the DNA report in Thursday's edition which pointed out that all land acceded to the Metro will be deemed as collateral security of the Japan Bank of Industrial Cooperation (JBIC).
This commercial use of public asset is what Cubbon Park-lovers call an "ominous move" that could set into motion a series of such park land acquisitions in future under the label of "public utility." The Metro's petition for a high court nod comes up for hearing early next week.
Former Karnataka high court judge Justice MF Saldanha is vociferous in his critical remarks: "As long as we have leaders and officials who treat money above essentials like air and water, this will go on happening. Some 13,000 trees have been cut in the past one year in Bangalore. Does anybody care? The greatest tragedy is when the fence eats the crop. The executive and judiciary are guardians of public interests and public property, but what happens when they abdicate this role?"
Karnataka Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde says: "I believe the government periodically amending the 1975 Parks Protection Act, has led to the scramble for this public wealth of Bangalore. The government and the high court must apportion between them the blame for the fate of Cubbon Park today. I hope the government and high court no longer accede to the requests for park space."


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