Second overhead water tank at K.C. Layout park irks residents
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Second overhead water tank at K.C. Layout park irks residents

July 18, 2022

Mysore/Mysuru: Mysuru city is fast becoming a concrete jungle as green areas have started disappearing with astonishing rapidity and people hardly get opportunities to experience the natural environment outside their homes. Many open parks are increasingly becoming difficult to spot as buildings and roads are clamouring for space in the park.

Parks and gardens that are lungs of the localities are turning out to be places to construct new public utilities. Utilities like overhead tanks are coming up inside the parks, taking away a vast green space where age-old and healthy trees are axed.

When a new layout is made, can’t the planners, who provide space for parks, also provide space for water tanks, toilets, parking etc., meant for public use?

Though the Karnataka Parks, Play-Field and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Act, 1985, clearly lays down guidelines on construction and green spaces, the law remains mostly on paper. Shockingly, it is a classic case of fence eating the crop as the authorities who are duty-bound to enforce laws are themselves giving permission to these constructions.

The absence of a strong public movement against autocratic decisions is proving beneficial to the authorities and they very well know that no one would dare to raise their voice against any construction inside green spaces.

Take for example the Veerayodha A.P. Prashanth Park at K.C. Nagar (Kempu Cheluvajammanni Nagar) where the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) wants to construct an overhead tank by clearing the green vegetation. The Park is used by the residents of the layout as a green space for morning and evening walks, jogging tracks and a children’s play area.

Hundreds of people come to the park every day to indulge in recreational activities. According to Section 6 of Karnataka Parks, Playfields and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Act, 1985, no person shall construct any building or put up any structure likely to affect the utility of the park, playfield or open space or make any encroachment in or over any park, playfield or an open space.

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Citing the law, residents have now questioned the move to construct the overhead tank inside a park. They fear that tomorrow many other structures might come up, destroying the peace and tranquillity of the area, predominantly occupied by retired persons and the elderly.

There is already an overhead tank inside the park and the MCC has planned to construct another tank at the cost of Rs. 1.5 crore. In fact, such water tanks must be close to the residential areas but not inside a public park, argue residents.

According to the residents, the move to construct the second overhead tank inside the park is fishy and is ultimately aimed at park encroachment in the longer run. They said that any construction will spoil the beauty of the park and rob them of their only place to spend some quality time amidst greenery.

“Given the fast-paced concretisation of our neighbourhoods over the years, it is no surprise that we do not meet the standards of required land cover for recreational spaces. Unfortunately, even the existing green spaces are being destroyed in the name of constructing public utilities,” said a resident.

‘MCC will face consequences if anyone goes to Court’

It is amazing that when Karnataka Parks Act prohibits construction of any building (it allows only a small one to store park equipment or security quarters when the park is more than 5 acres), authorities allow blatant violation of that Act. Often it is to bend to the political pressure of the elected representatives who often are ignorant of the Parks Act,” said Bhamy V. Shenoy,   Convener of Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP). 

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“The rationale given by the MCC is that since residents want water supply, they should not object to such a construction. There are many ways to supply drinking water to houses and it is unclear why the MCC is hell-bent on constructing overhead tanks that too inside parks,” he wondered.

“I would like to bring an example here of Gururaja Layout where a similar overhead tank was planned by the MCC. Because of the pressure put by MGP on MCC officials and local MLA (Tanveer Sait), the construction of the water tank was stopped and the park in Gururaja Layout was restored to its previous state. If any resident goes to the Court against the second water tank construction at K.C. Layout park, the MCC will have to face the consequences,” Bhamy Shenoy warned. 

‘Will ease water scarcity’

There is severe water scarcity in the area and that is the reason why a second overhead tank is being constructed here. The facility will benefit the residents and their suggestions and opinions have been considered too.” — Chayadevi, Corporator

Instead of choosing any other place to build the water tank, we have chosen the land owned by the MCC. We have taken permission from Water Board and the tank is being constructed for the benefit of residents. — Ashwin, Assistant Executive Engineer, MCC

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