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BBMP messes up playground which needed no repair

A perfectly fine playground in Koramangala has been dug up, its audience platform dismantled and existing grills around it have been replaced. The construction, which started a year ago, is far from complete.

That is how the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is utilising funds it received under the state government's Nagarothana scheme to improve the civic infrastructure in the city.

The problem is that for the past one year, local children have been forced to play on the streets or just stay indoors.

Two more playgrounds in Koramangala are set to undergo similar 'upgrade' at Rs 2 crore. Though all the playgrounds should have been developed simultaneously, that's not happening.

"There is no point arguing whether the playground needed any upgrade in the first place. Much of the work has already happened. All that we need now is that the playground should be ready at the earliest," said Jayaram Reddy, president, Koramangala 6th Block Residents' Welfare Association.

The Palike had elaborate plans for the playground. It wanted to build an indoor stadium but dropped the plan following public protest. "The indoor stadium would have shrunk the playground. Then, the construction would have taken at least up to five years. By then, our children would have lost the opportunity to play in a playground," said a resident, who did not want to be named.

Ravi Scarvalo, a Karate instructor, said the playground didn't need any renovation. "The upgrade was thrust upon people, especially children. The platform was in good condition. Just a little civil work was enough to improve it. The place would come alive when children thronged it on Saturdays and Sundays. It hurts to see children playing on the streets for the past one year," he said.

Contractors at the construction site admit that the work has been delayed but are confident that the playground will be ready in a month. Thereafter, playgrounds at Baby Mona School and on Koramangala 80 Feet Road will be "upgraded".

Koramangala corporator M Chandrappa, too, conceded there was "enormous" delay in completing the work. "Work was stopped for a while in the wake of demonetisation. Now, it'll be completed in a month," he said.

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