Bengaluru: At a time when playgrounds are rapidly vanishing in the city, it is no surprise that kids knock on the door of Shijo Francis’ house, urging him to hold protests and promising him that they too would actively participate in the protest. In BEML Layout in Kundalahalli, the only ground in the locality is on the verge of getting encroached. And sadly for the residents, the ground is taken over by the BDA, which has handed over the land to KPTCL to construct a power station.
Upset that the kids have nowhere to go and play, Francis, president of Spandana, an RWA, said, “The recreational club is a tiny piece of land where kids store their indoor game materials. The playground is yet another small land, but there are at least 10 teams playing football in the small land. Now, the BDA wants to hand over even this land to another agency.”
Surprisingly, though the layout plan identifies the playground area as a civic amenity (CA) site, the BDA has gotten into an agreement with the KPTCL, without the consent of the residents or calling a public meeting. It has now sent eviction notices to the residents to vacate the recreational club.
A worried Surya Prakash, explained, “There are 2,500 families in the locality. The residents have funded from their pockets to build amenities in this layout. The fencing of the ground, installation of streetlights and the construction of the club was funded by residents. The land belongs to the BEML Layout Housing Co-Operative Society, but not the government. How can they be so apathetic?”
After holding protests last week, the residents have urged that the power station can be constructed anywhere else in the locality, but the kids cannot find another playground. “All the cultural events and sports activities are held in this ground. The roads are too busy and dangerous for the kids to play. With rampant construction activities taking over the locality, the children have nowhere to play but this ground,” Cauvery Adiga, a resident observed.
DC speaks to Doddanekundi ward corporator Shwetha Vijay Kumar.
What is the status on the construction works of the power station in
As of now, we have instructed the KPTCL officials not to carry out any works at the playground and workers who came to construct a compound wall were sent back. A request letter has been sent to Bescom in this regard to wait until further instructions.
Have the agencies identified an alternative land to construct the power station?
Not yet, but Mahadevapura MLA Arvind Limbavali has promised to look into the matter and Bengaluru-in-Charge minister K.J George has convened a meeting with the BDA, KPTCL and Bescom officials to sort out the matter. The agreement between BDA and KPTCL has to be cancelled and the officials are in the process of doing this.
Are there any assurances that the playground won’t be encroached? Is there a timeline to resolve this matter?
We do not know when the matter will be resolved. But the residents have been cooperative and are actively fighting for the playground. We will ensure that the playground is not taken over by any agency.