Balabrooie guesthouse will become legislators' club

Balabrooie guesthouse will become legislators' club

Balabrooie guesthouse will become legislators' club

Balabrooie, the government guesthouse located in the heart of the City, will soon be history.

The iconic building would be demolished to make way for a clubhouse for the pleasure of legislators. The demolition is likely to begin by November 15, provided the court doesn’t order a stay.

The guesthouse, spread over 14 acres amid 100-150-year old trees on the picturesque Palace Road, has hosted many a luminary, including former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and poet Rabindranath Tagore, during the Raj. In 1850, Sir Mark Cubbon, as the chief commissioner of Bangalore, had made the building his home.

The plan to build a clubhouse for the recreation of politicians in the heart of Bangalore is nothing new. When B S Yeddyurappa was chief minister, he had decided to create a new facility for legislators. But the proposal was kept in abeyance because of various reasons.

The one-man inquiry commission headed by Justice (retd) R G Vaidyanathan, which is probing into the violent clashes on the City Civil Court premises on 2 March, 2012, is currently housed in the guesthouse.

The government has asked it to wind up its work by October 30. Sources in the government said the commission had sought another extension till December 2014 for completing its report.

But the government has shot down the request. Once the legislature secretariat is handed over the building, the legislature secretariat would either ask the Public Works Department (PWD) to demolish the building or call tenders to select an agency to do the job.

CM’s green signal

Official sources said that shortly after assuming office last year, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had given the green signal for handing over the guesthouse to the legislature secretariat from the hospitality section. Last month, he had given oral orders for the speedy transfer of the guesthouse.

A request from High Court judge Justice Mohan M Shantangoudar to have a room booked at the Balabrooie guesthouse last month was turned down by the State government. In a fax message sent by Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee, dated September 18, to the Joint Registrar (Protocol), High Court of Karnataka, it was stated that the guesthouse would be handed over to the legislature secretariat on September 30.

Legal tussle

Meanwhile, a legal tussle has now begun to save Balabrooie from being converted into a legislators’ club. A public interest litigation (PIL) petition has been filed in the High Court by Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) state president Marasandra Muniyappa to save the heritage building.

“We are striving to save this iconic building. We do not know what would be the result. But we are trying to ensure the building is saved from the clutches of the legislators who are trying to grab the prime piece of land for their personal use,” he told this newspaper.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox