Friday, March 12, 2010

A GYM? THANKS BUT NO THANKS

A GYM? THANKS BUT NO THANKS
Koramangala residents are trying their best to stop Talwalkars from setting up shop in their locality. They say they can do without the screeching cars and music
SHASHWATHI BHANUKUMAR


Residents in Koramangala’s III Block are vehemently opposing a gym because they think it will spoil their peaceful neighbourhood.
It all started when Talwalkars wanted to start a gym on Plot 370 of Koramangala III Block, 11th Main. However, people living there opposed it tooth and nail since they felt it would attract a large number of customers coming in cars and spoiling the neighbourhood calm. They also felt there would be noisy music from the gym.
TO COURT
They approached the high court in March 2009 and brought a stay order that Talwalkars could not start operations till the BDA converted the land from residential to commercial use.
The gym owners and the person who had rented out the building to them questioned it, saying the area had already become a commercial place with several firms operating there.
But the High Court disposed of the case on April 3, 2009, favouring residents. It also ruled that the gym owners and the building owner could approach Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to change the land usage to commercial.
PILLAR TO POST
Meanwhile, the gym owners who say they have spent over Rs 3 crore on the project are running from pillar to post to get the sanction.
“When the building owner applied to the BDA, we filed objections to it also,” said Suresh Rao who had filed a case in the High Court on behalf of the residents by hiring senior counsel S Nagananda.
“We don’t know what BDA has done, we are yet to hear from them,” he said.
PARKING
There were other complaints from residents: “The owner has not bothered to make parking arrangements,” said Ajay Reddy,
general secretary of Koramangala III Block Residents’ Welfare Association.
When contacted, Talwalkar’s advocate G I Vishwanath said: “The court has ruled in favour of the residents. I do not know what the gym authorities have done after that.’’
Talwalkar’s authorities refused to comment and a senior human resources manager would only say, “You will have to get in touch with our legal department.’’
But the legal department didn’t react either.
OTHER PLANS
Meanwhile, a senior staffer of Talwalkar said on conditions of anonymity that they were working on alternatives: “We are making efforts to get a favourable order from the BDA. The building owner has applied for the same.
“We are going to hire some vacant land nearby where cars can be parked. Then, we will have valet service at the gym from where our drivers will pick up customers’ cars and park them on the site. With this, residents will not be disturbed and the music will not be heard outside.”
SOUND HISTORY
“Neither Talwalkars nor its customers who come from respectable backgrounds have a history of causing nuisance in the places where we function. Residents of Koramangala III Block should understand this,” he added.

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