No response to BTM’s plea to restore park

Residents of KEB Layout in BTM 1st stage have been petitioning BBMP about a public park that was demolished to benefit a private party. Citizen Matters had reported the issue in October 22 issue.

BBMP demolished the play area in KEB layout park to build a road through it, in 2009. Pic: Navya P K

BBMP had built the road through the only park here to facilitate traffic to a Sai Baba temple nearby, violating laws that mandate park protection. This also led to severe congestion by vehicles parking in inner roads of the layout.

But BBMP is not swayed, even after receiving residents’ petitions and letters from Dr Shalini Rajneesh, state Secretary for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj.

In December, Shalini had written to BBMP Commissioner, pointing out that the road had destroyed the park and caused public nuisance. Besides, the temple, which benefits from the road, stood on BDA-allotted land while violating the terms of land lease says Shalini in her letter.

Residents filed separate petition with BBMP, with a copy of Shalini’s letter. "After a few days and many repeated calls, BBMP told us that they had not received our petition. We chased across many offices and found the concerned Assistant Engineer (Jayangar East), R Benakesha," says Umesh P N, Secretary of KEB Layout RWA.

Benakesha says that he had submitted the report to Jayanagar AEE Annegowda, who forwarded it to higher officials including A B Hemachandra, Joint Commissioner (South), who is in charge of entire South zone. The report reiterates that the road was built to ease traffic to Sai Baba temple on the directions of Jayangar MLA B N Vijayakumar, and seeks directions from higher officials for further action. Citizen Matters has a copy of the report. In mid-February, Dr Shalini again intervened on residents’ request, after which BBMP Commissioner’s office asked Hemachandra to take action.

But on Citizen Matters’ enquiry, both Hemachandra and Chief Engineer M C Prakash seemed unaware of the issue itself. Prakash later said that the issue had been referred to a junior officer. Dr Shalini says that she has not got any response from BBMP either and that she will take it up with BBMP again.

MLA Vijayakumar says that he will not interfere in the issue again. "The fight is between BBMP and residents now. Hundreds of vehicles going to the temple use that road; how can it be removed now? Also, only 10-15 houses are affected."

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About Navya P K 317 Articles
Navya has 12 years of experience in journalism, covering development, urban governance and environment. She was earlier Senior Journalist, Citizen Matters, and Reporter, The New Indian Express. She has also freelanced for publications such as The News Minute, Factor Daily and India Together. Navya won the All India Environment Journalism Award, 2013, for her investigative series on the environmental violations of an upcoming SEZ in Bengaluru, published in Citizen Matters. She also won the PII-UNICEF fellowship in 2016 to report on child rights in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Navya has an MA in Political Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and a PG Diploma from the Asian College of Journalism.