Saturday, September 22, 2007

BTC demolitions: Locking stable after horse has bolted

BTC demolitions: Locking stable after horse has bolted
Saturday September 22 2007 15:03 IST


BANGALORE: In a swift and sudden move, bulldozers of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike razed some of the stables of the Bangalore Turf Club for road widening.

BBMP officials had put on hold the plan to demolish the stables till the end of the Bangalore summer races which ended in early August as the BTC approached the government to change its plans. Nothing more than that happened. Legal avenues were not even explored to stop the encroachment. Now reality, of which the BTC was always aware, stares them in the face.

Stables have been demolished overnight. Expensive thoroughbreds were virtually left on the roads. Officials of the BBMP say that the BTC itself ‘‘is not really concerned’’ with what is happening ‘‘why should anyone else bother’’.

While the BTC management is to be blamed, owners and trainers’ associations too have failed to prevail upon the management to initiate preventive measures in time.

‘‘We will be having a meeting with the trainers tomorrow and then decide on the next course of action. The BTC management has been sleeping. It is their lackadaisical approach which has led to this situation,’’ said Ashok Raghavan, secretary of the Karnataka Racehorse Owners’ Association. Incidentally, UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya is the president.

‘‘Even in the last meeting, I raised the issue. We were told that nothing will happen. The BTC management has no vision and they are entirely responsible for this situation,’’ clarified Ashok Raghavan.

According to BTC officials, the BBMP has agreed to reduce the amount of space that they originally planned to take over.

‘‘We are having a meeting with Commissioner. We met him in the morning and he asked us to come again later in the evening. Only after that, we will know the details,’’ said Nirmal Prasad, the BTC secretary.

‘‘We had given them notice to shift the stables about three to four months back. But they did nothing and we were forced to demolish them. We have demolished about 200 metres and the remaining 300 metres will be demolished tomorrow. The road has to be widened from the present 14 metres to 30 metres,’’ said a BBMP official who did not want to be named.


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