Residents see conspiracy over school on cremation ground

Residents see conspiracy over school on cremation ground

The BBMP has illegally constructed a high school building on a cremation ground in Gubbalala village, Uttarahalli hobli of Bengaluru South taluk.

The building was constructed following a recommendation letter by Bengaluru South MLA M Krishnappa to the Special Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru on June 24, 2009.

In his letter, a copy of which is with Deccan Herald, the MLA wrote: “There is a nine gunta land in survey number 40, which is a ‘Smashana’ (cremation ground). Presently, the land is in BBMP limits. There is a government school adjacent to it, which is in need of land for a playground. Local residents have requested transfer of the land to the school.

Therefore, I request you to transfer the cremation ground land to the government high school, Gubbalala.”

However, there was no school adjacent to the cremation ground. In fact, the old school, in a dilapidated state, is about a kilometre away from the new school building constructed by the BBMP in 2010 on the cremation ground. The records of Rights, Tenancy and Crops (RTC) even today show that survey number 40 is a cremation ground.

When contacted, Krishnappa contradicted his letter and said the school was not on the cremation ground. “The school is not on the cremation ground. In fact, the cremation ground is near the Gubbalala tank (Kasim Khan tank). I can show you the graves near the tank or you can visit there to verify facts,” said Krishnappa.

BBMP’s role

Soon after the letter was written, Palike officials swung into action and issued a khata for the piece of land in survey number 40 of Gubbalala, showing it as a government school although the RTC and all other revenue documents clearly state that the land in question is a cremation ground.

It is not clear whether the BBMP is allowed to construct schools in the name of the State government, which gets funds under the Centre’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). While the schools under the BBMP itself are shabbily maintained, it is surprising that the Palike took pains to construct a building for the State government-run school.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner of Bengaluru Urban district V Shankar said, “I do not know about this particular case, but the cremation ground cannot be used for purposes other than performing last rites. If it is done, it is illegal.”

There is, however, a bigger story behind constructing the building on the cremation ground in a secluded place, a kilometre from the village. The new school building is on five guntas of land as four guntas have been encroached upon. On the other hand, the old building is at the corner of the Gubbalala main road, which is witnessing enormous growth in terms of real estate value. Instead of improving the dilapidated structure, the education officers connived with BBMP and Revenue officials to shift the school from the main road to an interior place where there is hardly any movement.

J Kumaraswamy, a resident of Gubbalala, said the location of the high school at a secluded place compromises the security of girl students who come from economically backward families. “These girls cannot afford to travel to school by bus or autorickshaw. They reach the school by walk, making them vulnerable to untoward incidents,” said Kumaraswamy.

Kumaraswamy even claimed that the school was built by those who were arm-twisted.
Later, bills were claimed from the BBMP as well as the State government under the SSA. “It is another sort of fake bill scam,” he said.

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