Residents of Koramangala and users of the Koramangala 3rd Block playground participated in a Walk/Run event conducted on March 6th. The event had two twin objectives – to raise funds for charitable purposes and to focus attention on the need to save the Koramangala 3rd Block Playground. More than 300 men women and children of all ages participated. Walk and run events were held two distance categories – 2.5 km and 5 km.
A civic amenity site located contiguous to the BBMP Playground in Koramangala 3rd Block had been allotted by the BDA to M/s Ananda Social and Educational Trust, an organisation whose principal trustee is Mr Radhakrishna, the son-in-law of Mr Mallikarjun Kharge, a senior Congress leader.
The site has been in the possession of the trust for over 20 years, but no construction work had been taken up by the Trust in spite of several extensions granted. In 2008, the then BDA Commissioner, Siddiah, had cancelled the allotment of land to the trust, citing failure to construct even after repeated extensions. However, Siddiah’s successor as BDA Commissioner, Bharat Lal Meena revoked the cancellation after a representation from the Trust promised to take up construction immediately.
What has been particularly disconcerting to residents is the blatant violation of all setbacks and construction at variance with the sanctioned plan. Residents have also apprehended encroachment into the BBMP Playground and have written to Joint Commissioner, BBMP (South) and the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force. So far, even with a serious issue of encroachment into public spaces, no action has been forthcoming.
Responding to the letter written by the Koramangala 3rd Block Residents Welfare Association, a team from the BDA visited the site and issued a letter to the allottee on February 29th 2016 asking the Trust to remedy the setback violations found, and not take up any further construction work until then.
Residents have also requested the BDA Commissioner Mr Sham Bhatt to facilitate allotment of an alternative parcel of land to the Ananda Trust in lieu of the disputed portion, so that the integrity of the playground can be maintained. Even this request has not been met with the corresponding level of seriousness from the BDA.
The area is also zoned as ‘Green’ which represents ‘Parks and Playgrounds’ in Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2015. According to RMP 2015, an allotment of a civic amenity Site for another purpose requires BDA to ascertain the wishes of the local residents and ensure that the allotment is of use to them. That condition has not been complied with either. BDA is supposed to ensure that layouts maintain 15 per cent open ‘lung space’ norms. In Koramangala, the lung space area is today barely per cent.
Residents and playground users have therefore prepared a petition to the BDA Commissioner in which they have rejected the BDA allotment to the Trust for the purpose of construction of a school. The residents are also calling on the BDA Commissioner to allot an alternative site for the school and have urged him to take a decision on this issue at the earliest. The petition will be delivered to the BDA Commissioner during the course of the week.