Friday, February 23, 2007

No kidstuff this, residents warn BDA

No kidstuff this, residents warn BDA
Deccan Herald

It is definitely a luxury to have a playground in your own locality. You won’t then have to unleash your children on the already overcrowded streets to let them flash their new cricket bat or swing a tennis racket - and thus get yelled at, or worse, by strangers for having inconvenienced them.

Not surprising then to see residents of Jeevan Bimanagar all set to wage a legal battle with the Bangalore Development Authority, to save the last piece of open space left for their children. They have filed a writ appeal against the order of a single judge, who had dismissed a PIL stating that no public interest was involved.

For seven years, these residents have been petitioning BDA and other civic authorities to leave the only playground in the area alone, as the area has been leased out by BDA to four private parties.

According to the residents, this two-acre piece of land - Plot No 2 - despite being classified as ‘residential’ in 1995 CDP (where community centres are not allowed to come up), and as ‘existing sports/playground’ in CDP 2005, has fallen prey to construction activities.

Norms flouted

“BDA’s layout formation guidelines explicitly dictate that 15 per cent of the total space of a layout be mandatorily set aside for parks/playgrounds. We have tried speaking to the BDA Commissioner several times, but he hasn’t responded to any of our calls or letters,” says Nitin Deshmukh, one of the residents, “who’ve been continuously writing to the Commissioner for the past eight months.”

“The LIC colony has duplex row housing, where every house has two common walls with the neighbouring house. The only ventilation is in the front and back of the house. This has led to very high population and housing density, making availability of open space outside the houses even more critical,” says Amitabha Samanta. All access roads to Plot No 2 were narrow. “These roads are 15 to 20 feet wide. How can they handle the traffic generated by four large multistorey buildings?” he asks.

The plots have been leased out to Moghaveera Sangha, Humble Charitable Trust, Kodagu Mathhu Dakshina Kannada Gowda Samaja and Orissa Cultural Association between 2002 and 2004.

The Moghaveera Sangha has started construction activities, and the residents are worried.

“There are 400 children in this colony, and there is no play area. Now that construction activities have started, one never knows if they will pay heed to what we are saying at all,” says Saritha, a mother of two.

BDA Secretary Rajashekhar insists the residents are ‘mistaken’, as the BDA is “certain that all norms are being adhered to.”

He, however, has no answer to why there was a need for four Community Centres in one area. “There is nothing in the Act which says that a Community Centre should not come up in a residential zone,” he says.


Extracts from BDA's 1995 Bangalore CDP zoning regulations, page 33, relating to open spaces and civic amenities (Document available on

Sanctioning of a layout plan for residential purpose shall be subject to the following conditions:

* 50 per cent of the total area shall be earmarked residential sites.

* Remaining 50 per cent earmarked for roads, parks, playgrounds, civic amenities.

* Parks/playground shall not be less than 15 per cent of 50 per cent marked.

These stipulations notwithstanding, the ground reality is that Jeevan Bimanagar has no playground or park and there are around 20 CA sites already in the colony


Dwellings, hostels, including working women’s and gent’s hostels, Dharamshalas, places of public worship, schools offering general education course up to secondary education. public libraries, Post and Telegraph offices, KPTCL and BWSSB Counters, clubs, semi-public recreational uses, milk booths and neighbourhood or convenience shops, occupying a floor area not exceeding 20 sq mts; doctors’ clinics, offices of advocates and other professionals in public interest, again not exceeding 20 sq mts of floor area in a building.


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