Saturday, July 03, 2010

Residents give govt 5-day ultimatum

Residents give govt 5-day ultimatum

Bosky khanna & shreyas nag Bangalore

T here are no labourers, cranes or earthmovers, but the "wounds" are visible everywhere. The Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain park awaits serious redemption, a day after the construction work on the proposed war memorial was stopped. The citizens are willing to take up that task if the government fails to act.
Chief minister BS Yeddyurappa announced on Thursday that the construction of the memorial would stop. He said it would be built elsewhere.
On Friday, some anxious onlookers from the neighbouring areas strolled around the park. But no one had a clue on how the 20-foot ditches across the park will be fixed.
"It is dangerous to walk around the pits," Radha Arun, who led the Krishna Apartment residents' fight against the memorial, said. "Senior citizens, children and even dogs in the park are not safe because of the ditches," she said. "We are lucky that it has not rained in two days. If it rains quite heavily, we will have a dangerous canal of water and 20-foot-deep swimming pools dotting the park."
"It is clearly an unplanned, arbitrary action by the memorial committee, which was in such a hurry to dig up the park," Sudhir Pai, the secretary of Krishna Apartment Residents' Welfare Association who had filed a petition against the war memorial in the Karnataka high court, said. A lot of people visit the park between 7 pm and 8.30 pm to see the musical fountain. There was no lighting in the area where the construction work had started, he said. The area was earlier earmarked for parking. The BDA and the government should close the pits before another mishap like those that claimed the lives of Sanjana and Abhishek occurred, he said. "They have to rejuvenate the lost lung space."
He said the residents would give the government five days to fill the ditches.
While the machines have moved out, the construction material, including stones and sand, are still lying all around the park. The dug-up soil has been dumped all over the park, even on the walking track. It would take time to restore the park to its earlier state, residents said.
"If the government fails to act, we will mobilise resources to clear the construction material and plant saplings," Pai said.
"I used to come here for morning walks," Rama Prakash, who lives in the neighbourhood, said. "I cannot bring my children to the park till the ditches are filled. I do support the memorial but not at the cost of public parks," she said. "Why can't a politician come forward to give some of his land for the memorial?" she asked.
"They (the BDA) had claimed that only four trees had been cut," Syeda Zeba, a student who visited the park on Friday, said. "If there is a downpour, more trees may be lost. The huge ditches dug up all over the park could loosen the soil and cause trees to fall," she said.
"Why was this place picked for the memorial?" a resident asked. "What are the minutes of the meeting in which the decision was taken to build the memorial at the park? There has been no transparency in the government action. Someone should file an RTI (right to information) application to find out the details," the resident, who did not want to be named, said.ground reality: Sudhir Pai and Radha Arun of the Krishna Apartment Residents' Welfare Association visit the site at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain park where ditches were dug up for the war memorial


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