Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Freedom Park still a mirage

Freedom Park still a mirage
Vijay Times

T looks like Bangaloreans will have to an endless wait for The proposed Freedom P ark at the old Central Jail premises on Sheshadri Road is yet to see any signs of the project beginning. turn into a reality .

The S M Krishna-led Congress go vernment had handed o ver the development of Freedom P ark to the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) after the jail was shifted mo ved to P arappanna Agrahara in the City outskirts.

A total area of 22 acres was allotted to develop the park, for which a proposal was submitted by the BCC during the former Mayor P R Ramesh’s tenure in 2004. Even after two years, the government is yet to release funds for the project. Recently , Ramesh had dashed a letter to Chief Minister Kumaaraswamy regarding the delay in the project and urged him to look into it immediately .

Though some of the heritage structures inside the jail premises have been retained, the vacant portion resembles a jungle with shrubs and weeds co vered all o ver and it has become turned into a safe den for anti-social activities. The place also stinks as it is being used a public toilet b y the passersby and the compound wall surrounding the premises has collapsed in many places.

According to the blue print, the Freedom P ark project consists of an open gallery , auditorium, shopping complex, garden, water bodies and a basement parking lot to accommodate 700 vehicles. In addition, a 560-metre tall sky to wer and a has also been proposed. The BCC had prepared a detailed project after shortlisting the design for the park follo wing a competition held for architects from across the country and the project had been tendered at an estimated cost of Rs 7.5 crore.

According to BCC engineers, of the 22 acres, three acres has been identified for the construction of a sky to wer .

It may be recalled that the previous Dharam Singh-led coalition go vernment had said that of the 22 acres, five acres of the old central jail premises will be utilised for holding protests and rallies in order to avoid the inconvenience caused to the public. "This is one of the reasons for delay in the project to take off. N o w that the new go vernment is in place, I hope the chief minister will act upon this at the earliest," a senior BCC official told BVT .

When contacted, former Mayor P R Ramesh said, "A detailed project report was prepared and submitted to the then government during my tenure two years ago . But it is yet to get a final nod despite change in the go vernments since then. The authorities concerned may cite many reasons for delay in the project. But they should realise that whatever is promised to the citizens should be kept up . Their thinking should be pro-people." Further , a committee set up to look into the pros and cons of constructing a sky to wer in the premises of the old central jail has made wrong recommendations. The Freedom P ark with a sky to wer will become one more important tourist spots in the City and Bangalore will attract more visitors. Even the BCC can earn a huge revenue by letting the parking space and other activities inside the park.


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