Bengaluru: The BBMP issued notices against unauthorized commercial activities in residential areas few days ago. Shop keepers and traders are now in trouble as residential areas occupied by them were illegally encroached. There are a lot of places in the city where residential areas are being used for commercial purposes.The BBMP is trying to enforce the Karnataka Municipality Act for the city to successfully restore its shrinking open spaces.
The rapid growth of Bengaluru has resulted in the disappearing of open spaces in the city, especially the playgrounds. Open spaces for the citizens to walk, children to play, meet up with friends are shirked due to these illegal activities. Very few residents in the city enjoy the availabilities of open space. Added to this, the government has decided to shrink the mandatory percentage of open space and parks. However, the decisions by some of the development authorities are on hold due to the opposition of some citizens. The Karnataka Urban Development Authorities (Amendment) Bill-2016 has planned to reduce the 15 per cent reservation for open spaces and parks in government layouts to 10 per cent. With the present availability of the space, the decision by the authorities will be a major concern for Bengalureans.
According to BDA Master Plan of 2015 reports, about 7.81 per cent of the city is made up of open space, including the parks and playgrounds. According to the BBMP Restructuring Committee, there are about 198 wards in the city which have less than 1 per cent of open public space. Imagine the plight of the spaces available for the citizens. The increased commercialisation has led to pollution, unhygienic spaces, health etc. As per the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) bylaws, homes having more than two floors will have to leave the ground floor mandatorily for parking. However, not many of the buildings have this option.
Open spaces are used for the parking, dumping construction materials, garbage and for commercial activities. The lakes and parks are disappearing, either by encroachment or through commercial activities. Children have no place to play, and with parents not allowing them to play on the streets, staying indoors with only television or computers is the only option. Buildings are lined up together to cover the open spaces. There is no room for citizens to walk in peace at the parks too. Many of the parks and grounds are unsafe. Harassment, murders and robberies have been a major problem.
“The ground near my residence named after a prominent personality ‘Vivekananda playground’ has been renamed as ‘Panipuri ground’ by the locals. It’s a shame to replace the name with these activities by the traders,” says a resident of RT Nagar.
“We are struggling to maintain just one playground that can serve the entire Whitefield community, as it’s all replaced with industries and rapidly growing population,” says another resident who has been working towards maintaining the city’s neglected green cover.
Meanwhile, BBMP Mayor Padmavathi said, “BBMP is exploring ways to maintain the open space in the city. Therefore, the acts and law will be enforced in a strong way to find solutions to these issues”. When asked about the potential to maintain and increase the space, the Mayor said that planning and strategies are being worked out and soon the citizens will be provided with better spaces.