Will People's Park fade into the pages of history?

Will People's Park fade into the pages of history?

Nine months ago, social activists, school children and artistes staged a demonstration at People’s Park, urging the authorities concerned to prevent the construction of a library.

The outcome of the protest was rather disastrous and went against the demands of the protestors. Installation of a fence, spanning one third of the area of the park, was the only outcome of the protest.

Mysore Grahaka Parishat (MGP) has expressed concern that the park, which is more than a century old and an important landmark of the city, might soon disappear. “Neither the Mysore City Corporation nor the Mysore Urban Development Authority have any concern for the park,” said Dr Bhamy S Shenoy of MGP.

History

The history of protests and petitions against the construction of a library at the park, by the Library Authority, spans more than three decades. The first attempt to build the library was made in the late 80s and was met with fierce opposition from concerned citizens. Later, a private firm won the tender for construction of a library. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the High Court, against the proposed construction as it violated Karnataka Parks, Play-fields and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Rules, 1985.

To the dismay of MGP and other volunteers, who opposed constructions of any sort, the Government decided to build the library, recalled Shenoy. The private firm, which had earlier won a tender for the construction, filed a case in High Court stating that the company had won a tender to construct the library and should be allowed to do so.

Promises

In a span of three decades, the controversy surrounding construction in the park has attracted promises from political leaders such as former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, MP A H Vishwanath and others that the park will be conserved and developed.

“Instead of developing, the park is going down the tube. People have started using the park as an open toilet,” said Shenoy. To add to the degradation, debris is also being dumped at the park.

“The intent of the authorities, it appears, is to destroy the park,” he said.

A recent release from the MGP notes, “If the government attempts to destroy a park by constructing a building, it can be opposed in the courts quoting Section 6 of the Karnataka Parks, Play-fields and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Rules, 1985, and stopped. If the government attempts to destroy a park by cutting the trees, it can be opposed in the courts quoting Preservation of Trees Act, 1976, and stopped. But if the government chooses to destroy a park by building a fence across it and preventing public access or by dumping debris, legal remedies fail. The only way to prevent such destruction is for the public to stand up repeatedly and protest.”

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