Shame: Pool closed for repair for 4 years

Shame: Pool closed for repair for 4 years

A public swimming pool in Jayanagar has remained closed for four years, ostensibly for repair and renovation. Regular swimmers now go to pools farther away, and some children have given up on swimming and switched to other sports.

The running of the BBMP pool, functional for many decades, was outsourced to a private company. An order that said a pool deeper than 5 ft should have lifeguards became an excuse for the authorities to shut the pool down. They said they would redo the pool, according to a pool user.

Why the pool has remained closed for four years is not clear. Contractor Babu gave no reason, and just said his men were working on it. When Metrolife visited the pool on Wednesday, the gates were barred and locked. Some workers were lazing around.  

Shyam Sundar Mudbhatkal, a Jayanagar resident and retired engineer, was a regular at the pool for decades. He is furious with the way swimming activity was unceremoniously shut down.

“It is just the carelessness of the BBMP. A lot is done in four years in countries abroad. Our government hasn’t even been able to fix a public swimming pool in that period,” he says. 

When Sowmya Reddy became the MLA of the area, he tried contacting her. “She wasn’t too responsive over the phone but she replied to my email saying that she would look into it. We haven’t heard back from her after that,” Mudbhatkal says.

The swimming pool is conveniently located in Jayanagar 3rd Block.
No official is saying why it remains closed.

K S Ramesh, well-known magician, is among those disappointed with the closure of the pool. “It was one of the most active places in Jayanagar. It was great for parents as they watched their kids grow. Coach John took kids to various competitions,” he recalls.

His niece Gowri, trained at the pool, participated in national-level events. “My sons Arjun and Rahul were five and eight when they joined the centre. They switched to cricket after it was closed,” he says.

For many like him, the pool holds happy memories. “We will go back the moment it reopens,” he says. The pool, adjacent to Kittur Rani Chennamma Stadium, has been popular with at least two generations of swimmers.

It will open in two months: MLA 

Sowmya Reddy, MLA representing Jayanagar, said the pool would reopen in two months. “I’ve been an MLA only for three months and I understand how important this pool is for citizens,” she told Metrolife. She said she couldn’t explain why the pool had remained closed for four years. “We know it hasn’t been operational. Whatever the reason, work on renovating it is on now and we are opening it to the public in two months,” she says.

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