Turf war queers football pitch row in City

Playing spoilsport

Turf war queers football pitch row in City

 The disputed Hosmat Hospital parking lot. DH PHOTOAnd once the police intervened to settle a civil dispute in characteristic style -- bullying and assaulting some truck drivers carrying the astro turf -- there is now an unseemly delay in a project that the state’s footballers would have been proud of. This has left KSFA officer-bearers fuming at the police, especially a lady traffic inspector.

The police action on Monday followed the truck drivers parking their vehicles at the KSFA’s 1,760 square feet property which Hosmat Hospital has been using as a parking lot. On August 30 last year, KSFA dashed off to Hosmat Hospital chief Dr Thomas A Chandy a letter along with the a copy of the court order (OS no 3260/2002) by the IX Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge which clearly said that parking on that plot of land was illegal.

Explaining the episode, KSFA official A D Nagendran said: “Thanks to FIFA, the state is getting astro turf surface under the Goal Project scheme. More than Rs 5 crore worth of synthetic materials was dispatched from Holland to Bangalore and on Wednesday, in the wee hours, three Canters landed from Chennai port.”

Nagendran said that since the KSFA was to pull down the wall and make way for the trucks to enter the stadium and unload the material, “we requested the truckers to park the vehicles outside till alternative arrangements were made”. The drivers found the Magrath Road-Commissionrate Road junction a safe place and parked the vehicles there.

A fracas ensued when the Hosmat Hospital authorities called in the police who roughed up and assaulted the truck drivers, before asking them to leave and seizing their vehicles.

Clarifying the hospital's position, Chandy said: “It’s a public parking area. The government lease agreement clearly states that KSFA should not sub-lease it to any one but they have violated the contract and as a result two commercial properties are standing tall.”

According to Chandy, “football fans do not have an empty space to park their park their vehicles when ever there is a match. So they park in front of the hospital. Earlier, the ITI had got the same land (parking lot) on a 35-year lease from the corporation. Now, we are the tenants and we not charging.”

Fuming at the turn of events, the sports fraternity holds the hospital and the police as the spoilers. Several players from other sports disciplines said even when the FIFA has gifted the astro turf, some vested interests were preventing it from being laid.

When contacted the lady police inspector said: “The dispute is between the hospital and KSFA. A Homsat Hospital vice-president had alerted me. Immediately, a sub-inspector was deputed but the truck drivers did not budge.”

Former KSFA secretary Mohan Raj, under whose regime the association won the “parking lot case”, explained that nearly 12,900 square metre corner plot was given to the association by then chief minister Devaraj Urs and registered lease deed was executed on November 10, 1975.

Earlier, the association had managed to use the land, but later it was forced to go to court whose order helped it get released.

 “But even now we are being harassed by various quarters,” Raj said, adding that another litigation involving the Dhobi Ghat land behind the parking lot has been settled in favour of the KSFA.

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