Why only Curzon Park?

There is something decidedly heart-warming about the civic response to the controversy surrounding the “gift” of 10 ft of Curzon Park-III by the district in-charge minister. On the one hand, it is a pleasing sight to see Corporators cutting across party lines slamming the move. In the cynical world we inhabit, few expect today’s politicians to possess the ability to put the City’s interests above that of their own. That our Corporators have stood up for the Park is good augury, and the City would be grateful if they can do likewise, more often, on the issues confronting Mysore.

At the same time, it is an equally pleasing sight to see the officials of the MCC revealing, in their own sweet voices, the kind of political, bureaucratic, business and other vested interests that are holding this City hostage. According to them, the move to “gift” a portion of the park was done at the behest of an MLA who is reportedly building a hotel on Sri Harsha Road. The MLA brought pressure on the then MCC Commissioner, A.B. Ibrahim, who quietly acquiesced. Mr Ibrahim, who is still in the City, should now confirm or deny the veracity of this very serious charge.

Whether the MLA will declare the hotel among his assets in the election affidavit is a matter which keen observers of our democracy will hope to probe. But “We, the People” should not be fobbed off by this attempt to shift the blame. The question the Corporators and MCC must now answer is this: if they are so agitated over the attempt by the hoteliers to grab the park for parking space, then what were they doing when the hoteliers were flagrantly violating the Corporation’s rules which stipulate parking space to be provided in the basements of the establishments?

As is obvious, large business and residential complexes are violating this very basic rule that is so essential to preserving the open space and greenery that we have been blessed with. Having now belled the Curzon Park cats, the Corporators and Corporation officials, led by the Commissioner, need to tell us just where they stand on the other violators. Pouncing on the Sri Harsha Road violators while letting the others go scot-free will only result in the obvious conclusions being drawn, which is why an urgent MCC response on the issue is now called for.

The MCC needs to serve a stern deadline for property owners to open up their basements for parking of vehicles. Using the basements for running commercial enterprises, for installing generators, etc, will not do. These basements are meant for parking, and if the violators are in no mood to oblige, the MCC should crack down mercilessly. Only 10 ft is at stake at Curzon Park. Hundreds of thousands of square feet are at stake across the City. For the new Commissioner, this could be the first big step to preventing Mysore from going Bangalore’s way.