Chimney Hills residents get respite

Chimney Hills residents get respite

The approach road which has been blocked by IAF. DH Photo

The IAF did not enforce the blockade as announced earlier and didn’t mind the civilians using the road. But the threat looms large.

It was in 2000 that the IAF authorities began objecting to civilian movement near the radar station atop the Hill, which led the 13 families to seek legal redress. After nine long years of legal battle, the residents lost the case in July, 2009. While not blocking movement for nearly six months, in December 2009 IAF began asserting its ownership on the land and barricaded the only approach road.

Initially, the IAF authorities blocked vehicular movement and declared that it would stop people on foot using  the stretch from January 1. The Chimney Hill residents decided to take on the mighty IAF by defying the barricades. Local MLA S Muniraju persuaded the IAF authorities to relent, but the residents are not convinced that the danger is past.

On Friday, a BESCOM meter reader indicated that he was coming to the Chimney Hill for the last time as the IAF men ‘directed’ him not to step into their territory again. “Already the LPG hawker is denied entry to our area. We had to walk to collect the gas cylinder,” said an aggrieved Srikanth.

The biggest worry will begin from Monday when children have to walk almost two kilometre to reach the main road to catch their school buses.

 “Earlier, the bus used to come close to our houses but now the vehicles are not allowed. The kids will have to walk at least two kilometres because we are not permitted to drive our vehicles,” said Sneha Santosh, a resident of the area.

The irony is that this is a layout approved by the earlier Panchayat authorities and then by the BDA. But now, their presence is seen as a security threat for the radar station, the gate of which is located around 500 metres from their houses.

“We have been here for the last 25 years. We have utmost regard for country’s security and we will be the first to sacrifice our property but why we alone should be targeted when there are residential buildings just 200 metres away from the station,” says Anand Chaurasia.

Apparently, the IAF is apprehensive of the mushrooming of educational institutions in the vicinity of its station, and in particular the considerable influx of students from foreign countries in the institutions. In view of the security intelligence advisories on possible threats to defence installations, the IAF has intensified its vigil around its establishments. Dasarahalli MLA S Muniraju said he is working to get an alternative road which may take at least six months, but till then he wanted the IAF to show a little more leniency towards the Chimney Hills residents.

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