BENGALURU: The Karnataka Urban Development Authorities (Amendment) Bill-2016, which proposes to reduce space to be allocated for public parks and playgrounds in tier-2 cities, will be detrimental to future towns, say urban experts.
Experts and citizens groups have demanded the government rethink on the Bill and bring a legislation that suggest measures for better protection of the existing public parks and civic amenity spaces from illegal encroachments. Namma Bengaluru Foundation has gone a step ahead and approached Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala seeking rejection of the Bill. Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundation, said citizens should come together and make their objections to the legislation so that the Bill gets rejected by the governor.
Civic evangelist V Ravichandar said the recent amendment to shrink open spaces and area for civic amenities is regressive. “The experience of Bengaluru has made us painfully aware of the urban planning disaster due to our myopic tendency to freely infringe on public spaces. This has resulted in reduced green cover and environmental damage. Old-timers will recall that the traditional Cubbon Park area stretched up to the Planetarium. We are expected to have learnt from our mistakes and not repeat them,” he added.
According to MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, “the haste in which the Siddaramaiah government has pushed the Bill that will allow green spaces to be handed over to builders is further proof of its callous disregard for responsibility towards citizens and towns.” He pointed out that the new law impacts 250 towns and cities across Karnataka where areas reserved for parks and open spaces will be reduced and handed over to real estate developers.
“The government has repeatedly demonstrated its policy capture by builders and contractors. This Bill represents a clear and imminent threat that Bengaluru which does not fall under Karnataka Urban Development Authorities (KUDA) will soon face the same consequence once similar amendments are made to the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act-1976, the Bangalore Development Authority Act-1976 and the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority Act. This is a fast-track route to make Bengaluru and other cities unlivable. The chief minister must withdraw such a poorly thought-out and anti-citizen law while assuring the public that their legitimate rights will not be violated,” he added.
Members of B.PAC, a citizen group, who have already expressed reservations over the Bill, want the issue of public playgrounds needs to be considered separately as its main users are children who are not participating stakeholders. This point of confrontation must serve as a call to citizens to ask for data on parks and civic amenity spaces to be made more visible to the public, they said.
Credits ET Realty