The construction of an open-air auditorium on the playground of the Government Arts College in the heart of Bengaluru has faced fierce opposition from students and teachers who fear losing the only space for sports activities.
The construction has been stopped for the past four days. The project is the brainchild of actor-turned-politician Bhavana Ramanna, who intends to use the auditorium for art and culture.
“Initially, we thought it’s a government project but later found out about the involvement of a third party. Once constructed, the auditorium will become a sought-after place for every event and we’ll lose our only play area. Why can’t they find some other place,” said Jaishankar, a student. A teacher, speaking anonymously, told DH: “It’s nothing but trespassing on government land. If their intentions are good, they should build the auditorium elsewhere. How can anyone justify taking away the land meant for sports and giving it for art and cultural activities? It will also create disruptions in our classrooms and become a nightmare for our college.”
Students and teachers brought the matter to the notice of the Department of Collegiate Education which has promised to look into it.
N Manjula, Commissioner for Collegiate Education, said: “I have sought details of the project from the college principal. We haven’t received any written order on the project. First, I want to know which department is funding the project and why. We will then send a report to the government.” Bhavana justified the project, saying it’s a purely social welfare project and has been approved by the government. “The auditorium is coming up on a wasteland. I don’t think it will cause disturbance to anyone. I am just monitoring it and there is no personal benefit involved. I am even spending out of my own pocket so that poor artists from our state get a place,” she said.
The actor claimed labourers were manhandled and she was abused when she visited the spot. “As things are legal. I will fight for this project and get it done,” she asserted.