Balabrooie: 'Won't withdraw plea unless CM makes written promise'

Balabrooie: 'Won't withdraw plea unless CM makes written promise'

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Marasandra Muniyappa has said he will not rest until Chief Minister Siddaramaiah gives a written undertaking that the government will not touch the Balabrooie guesthouse premises.

Muniyappa had blown the lid off the government’s plans to hand over the iconic building to the Legislature section—that comprises the Assembly and Council—from the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR).

He filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition before the High Court of  Karnataka on September 29, seeking its intervention to save the structure. The chief minister has already promised to the ‘Save Balabrooie Committee’ that not a single a tree on the guesthouse premises would be cut. At the same time, he tweeted that the premises would be left untouched as the government had no plans to have a legislators’ club there.

But Muniyappa says he will not take the chief minister’s word for it. He said Siddaramaiah could quietly backtrack, as he did in the KPSC scam. “I will not withdraw my petition unless the chief minister gives a written undertaking to the court or to the people,” he asserted. “ Siddaramaiah had assured me and others that the candidates who had passed the KPSC exams in 2011 would not lose the chance to get the plum jobs. But the State Cabinet then decided to declare the results null and void. In the case of Balabrooie too, the chief minister may reverse his decision.”

Muniyappa, who is the BSP’s  State co-ordinator, said there were several instances of Siddaramaiah having gone back on his word. “If all had gone as per his plans, a ground-breaking ceremony would have been held in mid-October for the legislators’ club at the Balabrooie,” he pointed out.

Muniyappa’s PIL petition says the government is to hand over the building to the chief engineer of the Public Works Department (PWD) and later to the Karnataka Legislators’ Club, which has an office in Vidhana Soudha.

“...Once the possession is given, the iconic building will be demolished and over 100-150 trees are likely to be destroyed, leading to destruction of the environment,” the petition says.

The petition urges the High Court to direct the government not to hand over Balabrooie to the PWD, and ask the Department of Archaeology to take over the building and preserve it as a monument of historical value.

Meanwhile, the government has stopped allotting rooms to VVIPs who seek accommodation at the Balabrooie guesthouse. A fax message sent on September 18 by the chief secretary—Deccan Herald has a copy—states that the government had denied the allotment of a room to High Court judge, Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar, as the guesthouse is to be handed over to the legislature section.

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