Wednesday, June 09, 2010

War on BDA over memorial

War on BDA over memorial
By: BV Shivashankar Date: 2010-06-08 Place: Bangalore

Citizens' group slams Bangalore Development Authority for falsely claiming to have completed work on controversial Military Memorial and making announcements before court passed its judgment on the issue

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) may face a contempt suit for claiming to have built the controversial National Military Memorial before the court pronounced judgment on the issue.

When the government proposed the memorial, two months ago, at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park near Rajbhavan, some citizens moved high court in a bid to save the green stretch.

The court had reserved its judgment, after hearing the case, and announced its verdict in favour of the BDA on June 4.

However, the BDA did not wait for the judgment and announced that it had already completed the project at a cost of Rs 15 crore.

The BDA wants to create a memorial similar to the Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi which marks the tomb of unknown soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country.

Fifteen days before the Global Investors Meet, the BDAs advertisements at the venue listed the project as the BDA's achievements.

"The BDA has committed crime on two counts," said Dr Sudhir Pai, secretary, Krishna Apartment Owners Association, which is spearheading the fight to save the park.

"Firstly, it went on to say that it had successfully completed the project even before the court gave its judgment, as if they knew the judgment was favourable.

Secondly, it lied to mislead the public by declaring they had completed the work, when the work has not been started in the first place."

Pai said the association would bring this to the notice of the Supreme Court, when it appealed to the apex court against the High Court's judgement that allows the memorial to come up.

"We are not against the memorial, but it should not be built in the park as it violates Preservation of Public Parks Act," said Pai.

The BDA published ads in various newspapers on June 4 that incorrectly declared that the memorial had been built

"Moreover, it sets a bad precedent that would allow government to build concrete structures in public parks."

H Siddiah, commissioner of BDA, admitted that the agency had erred in making the declaration before the court's judgment.

"The memorial should have been included in the list of proposals. It was instead highlighted as an achievement," said Siddiah. "I am exploring ways to control the damage."

Siddiah refused to comment on the possible contempt suit.


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