When will Ulsoor pool reopen?

When will Ulsoor pool reopen?

No swimming pools which can match international standards, swimmers lament

When will Ulsoor pool reopen?

Swimmer-diver Divya Theja was thrilled when she got selected with 16 other Indians for the Sixth Asian Age Group Games at Tokyo. But her joy was short-lived when she realised that the international standard swimming pool close to her Kallahalli residence, had shut down for ‘renovation’ one-and-a-half years ago.

This pool at Ulsoor Lake is still shut, and is nowhere close to a relaunch!

Divya, a winner of six gold medals at the national games, is now forced to practice at the pool attached to the Madras Engineer Group (MEG). But that pool has a depth of only one metre, far short of the international standard of 3.1 metres for diving. Neither does the pool have the facilities required for diving: A five-metre high board, 7.5-metre high board and 10-metre high board.

As Divya’s father Krishnamurthy points out, barring Ulsoor Swimming Pool there are no other swimming pools in Bangalore that match the international standard. Upset with the delay in renovating the Ulsoor pool, many swimmers had submitted a joint memorandum to the Sports Authority of Karnataka (SAK) to get it opened for practice. That was an year ago.

Renovation

The pool was closed in February 2008, to get it ready for the National Games scheduled between May 11 and 18, last year. Thanks to the elections, the games did not happen here. Neither did the renovation. No effort has been made for any estimate, plan, design or issuing tender notices.

But residents complain that the swimming pool’s closure has not meant that the area is closed totally. The pool has a park nearby, which has become a lovers’ haunt. “It is not a haven but a ‘heaven’ for a ‘selected few’ who bribe the security guards in the night. Also, a Biriyani centre is running to cater to such couples,” says a resident. All this, when the Sports Authority of Karnataka pays around Rs 17,000 every month for the security of this ‘closed pool’.

RTI drives the officials

What eventually could make a difference is the effort of a local resident, P Kalidas Reddy of Kallahalli, who asked the Sports Authority of Karnataka (SAK) a number of questions under the Right To Information (RTI) Act about the status of ‘renovation’ of the swimming pool. He applied on June 5 this year and a week later, SAK invited tenders for the repair and renovation of the swimming pool with an estimated budget of Rs 1.45 crore.
Only in April this year were the renovation designs prepared by Planet Scuba India and Oasis Pools. The final plan was submitted on May 18 this year.

Minister speaks

Minister for Youth Services and Sports Goolihatti D Shekhar attributed the delay on the  previous contractor’s reluctance to work due low rates. The same contractor has now reportedly agreed to take up the work.

According to the minister, the swimming pool was earlier under the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), but now the Department of Youth Services and Sports had taken it up for completion of the works. But the minister gave no time frame to complete the work.
 
Coffee-shop

Interestingly, the plan for a coffee shop on the roof-top of the complex has not gone down well either. Parents of many girls fear it would become a hub for miscreants.
“Girls in swimsuits may not be able to practice due to strangers there. There is no need for a coffee shop at swimming pool,” said an agitated Krishnamurthy.

The minister, however, said he would not allow any coffee shop to come up there. “This matter never came to my knowledge. I will demolish such structures if they are coming up at the pool,” he said.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)