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Demolish a playground to build a school? Permission granted

This story by me was first published in the IIJNM publication The Observer, on Jan 21, 2016. The Observer is the work of print journalism students who report exclusive news stories from Bangalore and the state of Karnataka.

School plan takes away Koramangala’s space to play

The private trust which is building a school in a Koramangala playground has said that it has the permission to do so.

Youngsters play cricket in the playground as construction work goes on in the background

Residents of Koramangala 3rd Block are upset with the school being built in one part of the local playground. People
have been coming from far-off to play here for several years, they claim. The Resident Welfare Association (RWA) has appealed to the private trust, M/s Ananda Social and Educational Trust, to build the school at an alternative site.

Construction started last month, after which the residents put up an online petition to appeal to the government to
stop the construction. However, the trust, which also runs Dr. Ambedkar Medical College, says that it has been authorized by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to build the school.

The MLA for the area, Ramalinga Reddy said he is in favour of the residents but the High Court has already passed its order, and the construction is legal.

The Koramangala playground was voted the best park in the city for two years in a row, and residents say, is expected to win the title this year as well. The civic amenities space consists of a park, a playground, and a composting unit.

Residents say that one of the trustees of the organisation building the school is the son-in-law of former Union minister Mallikarjun Kharge. A spokesperson for the trust denied any wrongdoing, despite the trust’s name being on a home ministry list of NGOs barred from receiving foreign funds in June 2015.

MLA Ramalinga Reddy, BTM Layout: “The land was allotted by the BDA to the institution Ananda Social and Educational Trust, about 25 years ago. The residents went to court, and court upheld the allotment. Now what
can we do? I am in favour of residents, but they know everything about the case. Ananda should also cooperate, right?”

Nithin Seshadri, RWA, Koramangala 3rd Block: “Construction of a school in that area would have tremendous repercussions on the playground which is the only lung space available in the area, for people who come
here to play. We are appealing to the allottee to find an alternative site.”

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Nagaiah, Site Manager, Ananda Social and Educational Trust: “In 1992, we applied to BDA to open a Kannada medium school at the site. Local residents filed a case against us. Karnataka high court ordered the BDA to
issue the position certificate and allowed construction in favour of Ananda trust. We have got the government order.”

Boys playing cricket on the ground: “In Bangalore, there are not so many places to play. We are really unhappy with this idea.”

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