Demand to convert CA sites into playgrounds on the rise

According to citizens and urban experts, instead of auctioning the civic amenity sites, where the lease has expired, the government should convert them into parks and playgrounds.

While the state government is contemplating on auctioning civic amenity (CA) sites belonging to the Bangalore Development Authority to fund many schemes, the demand to convert them into playgrounds and parks is on the rise. This comes in the wake of a shortage of open spaces in the city.

According to citizens and urban experts, instead of auctioning the CA sites, where the lease has expired, the government should convert them into parks and playgrounds.

However, the BDA said citizens should help to maintain the parks and playgrounds.

The BDA officials said the auctioning of the CA sites was proposed due to financial crisis. Converting them into open spaces and handing it over to the BBMP would not attract any finances.

According to the BBMP records, there are 289 playgrounds and 1,299 parks of varied dimensions in the city. Further, the BDA's Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP)-2031 has earmarked only 4% for open spaces.

The demand for playgrounds and parks also gained momentum after residents from Indiranagar and north Bengaluru recently voiced their opinion on the need for open spaces.

Children at a loss

"There is a shortage of playgrounds in the city. The government should think about the welfare of people, especially children. Since there is a lack of playgrounds, many children are forced to play on the streets," said Subhash B, a citizen.

The recent report by the Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc-Trees of Bengaluru, stated that concretisation has increased by 925% in Bengaluru from 1973- 2014. The city has lost 78% of its vegetation and open spaces.

Urban planner V Ravichandar said there is a decline in the designated open spaces. The CDP shows that there is a deduction by 25% in the CDP in the past 25 years. The city needs more lung space and what better than parks and playgrounds, which have multiple objectives. The government cannot think of monetary gains always, he said.

Noted urban planner Kodandapani, who drafted a few CDPs in the past, said the rules of 1976 of setting aside 15% space for parks and playgrounds and 10% for civic amenity sites have been long forgotten.

All open spaces are being encroached and concretised as the value of land is very high. But the city needs more open spaces, especially in private layouts and developing areas, he added.

BDA Commissioner Rakesh Singh said they would place the citizens 'suggestions before the government for consideration.

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Demand to convert CA sites into playgrounds on the rise

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