As Metro takes Bamboo Bazar route, residents fear losing playground

As Metro takes Bamboo Bazar route, residents fear losing playground

After the Shivajinagar playground, the Namma Metro project will affect another ground at Bamboo Bazaar, as the BMRCL has decided to go ahead with the changed location of the Cantonment Metro station.

Both the playgrounds are key open spaces for the bustling neighbourhood.

While the Shivajinagar ground is small, the Madina Ground at Bamboo Bazar, measuring about 3.5 acres, is the only breathing space in the congested neighbourhood, residents said.

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) managing director Mahendra Jain, however, said the station will acquire only a small piece of the ground.

"Most of the playground will be used temporarily for cut and cover work. There will be minimum effect on the ground once the civil work is over," he said.

Kids must not suffer  

Syed Saifuddin, a resident of Benson Town, said Metro civil works usually take two to three years and denial of open space for children for that duration should be avoided.

"In about a 4-km radius, there is no other playground, except the Shivajinagar ground, which is small and will not be able to accommodate many. The Bamboo Bazar ground is special because it allows one to get away from the small and congested roads in the neighbourhood. We want to protect every inch of the land," he said.

Imtiaz, a street vendor, said he comes to the ground in the evening to rest and watch children play. "I sit in a corner and see children playing cricket, marbles and other games. I can't push the cart in the surrounding areas till 8 pm," he said.

BMRCL has said the original alignment poses a risk to hundreds of buildings along the line. Additionally, it requires building of a shaft for which an apartment with 59 flats has to be demolished. Bamboo Bazar, on the other hand, reduces the distance of the line by 900 metres while avoiding the acquisition of private properties.

Activists who held a protest to save the playground had said even though the Metro station acquires a small portion of the land, BMRCL will need additional space for alighting area, parking facilities and road widening. They fear that providing approach roads to fire engines, as per the rules, will also come at the cost of the playground.

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