Tuesday, June 19, 2012

People's Park Row: MGP to file PIL again

In one side, Corporation is planning to construct library at People's Park, in other side a strong protest is being staged by MGP Members, Environmentalist and mementos of various organizations.

In the same, opposing the construction of Library in People's Park, Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) wants to continue its campaign and to file PIL again for the second time to save People's Park situated in heart of the city.

College and school students are invited to give suggestion about the park on June 24 between 10 am and 12 pm and each school can symbolically plant a tree.

The assembled students can discuss the topics like how MCC has violated Karnataka parks act in the case of Peopleʼs Park, need for saving lung space, the importance of good governance, the role of common man in a democracy etc.

MGP Convenor Bhamy V Shenoy said that this type of modified Gandhian approach of putting indirect pressure on the authority may result to elected representatives drop the idea of the library as they did few years back.
Know how the save Peopleʼs Park campaign began

In the mid of 90s, Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) read a report in a paper stating Forest Officer has refused to give permission to cut trees at People's Park in order to construct library.

One fine day, MGP Convenor Bhamy V Shenoy got the call from the officer stating Divisional Commissioner might give permission to construct library and politicians are also involved in it.

In the same MGO invited people Court and took up the project of saving People's Park and filed PIL in 2000 and stopped the construction.
Later, there was plans to convert the same park into a private bus stand, but widespread public protests it was stopped.

But, now again foundation stone has been laid to construct a library in the People's Park. MGP members have contacted Mysore City Corporation (MCC) Commissioner KS Raikar and have confirmed that the Department of Library is planning to construct a Library.

Bhamy V Shenoy said that 'when I questioned about how they could go against Karnataka Parks, Play Fields and Open Spaces Act of 1985, Raikar argued stating that the Act allows to make use of 5% of the land. I told him that such a provision is there in the Act only for the use of the park to store its equipments and not for any other purpose. '

'Then he suggested that I should contact the Department of Library as though MCC has no interest or jurisdiction. I was surprised and saddened by his indifference.'

Later, MGP staged protest accompanied with environmentalist and Mysore Youth Forum on May 27. By the time MGP members reach the place a sing board was erected stating 300x400 acres of land will be used for construction of library and a compound was constructed and there was a tough-of-war between MGP and Corporation officials on the day.
A Contempt of Case was filled against Bhamy Shenoy and Retd Maj Gen Karumabaiah during this period. The proposed cost of the building in Peoples Park is expected to cost nearly Rs. 2.5 crores.
How the encroachment of park began

MGP Member Chandra Prakash who is a regular walker in the People Park since 1950's say that the park was Parallel to Government House and was filled with Greens.

According to him the first encroachment of the People' Park was by government college and School. Later, as days passed away temple was erected, and there is Darga towards City bus stand side and the place was provided for tennis court. The garbage are being dumped in the park at present.

'The government itself violating the rules by breaking the law. Library is important but not to be placed at the park. Slowly the park will be completely encroached,' he added.
Mysore's lung space is disappearing at rapid rate. Unless we the residents take active interest, Mysore will be ruined the way Bangalore is.
- Bhamy V Shenoy, MGP Convenor
Libraries are required to be located at serene places and not in noisy Central Business Districts. This construction money can be spent to improve the existing ill-kempt libraries and to set up more libraries in extensions where they do not exist.
- Vasanthkumar Mysoremath, Social Activist & Environmentalist.

Construction of library in the lines of Cubbon Park, Works to be completed by 2014

Library Department Deputy Director Manjunath said that construction of library will began in 15 days and fencing works will be completed within a period of week and the soil testing is over. The estimate cost of library is 4.08 crores.

The library will be inaugurated in 2014, to mark the centenary celebrations of City Central Library situated on Sayyaji Rao Road, he added.

'Park and library will be developed in the lines of Bangalore Cubbon Park. The Department has not collected Rs 8 crore of cess amount which has been collected by Corporation. The same amount will be used to develop the park.'

'As per the government order, decision has been taken to construct the library in the vacant place and not a single tree will be cut to construct the library. The library building will be constructed in the lines of heritage building in the 340x400 areas,' he said.

Karantaka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited (KRIDL) will execute the construction works. Plans have been made to construct walking path, garden and provide good environment for citizens, he added.
Plans of Library

In 1980's during the time of Vishwa Kannada Sahitya Sammelana the decision was taken to construct the library and even PWD called the tender. Later, due to shortage in funds in 1990 plans were made to construct the library along with public private partnership, where library in 50 per cent and other 50 per cent for construction of complex. Some Nilgiri tress were cut and a strong protest was staged and the proposal was dropped.

Now, after a period of decade, plans have been made to construct only library dropping the plan of construction of commercial complexes.

No meaning in protest
DD Manjunath said that there is no meaning in opposing the construction works and the Writ Petition filed by MGP members was dismissed by court after two years.

'If library constructed amidst parks, it provides lovely atmosphere for readers and there will be no disturbance. Earlier plans were made to construct commercial complex and I welcome the oppose. But why now, when only library is being constructed,' he questioned.

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