The residents of Alamu Nagar may have won only half the battle, but the new park on the retrieved portion of a reserved site seeks to send an appeal across the city and the suburbs that the public should launch and sustain a struggle to protect public purpose sites.
The residents' association had retrieved one half of the nearly 60-cent reserved site in their area by fighting cases in the High Court and Supreme Court and the Coimbatore Corporation recently constructed a park, the purpose for which the site was originally earmarked and the condition on which the layout plan was approved by the Local Planning Authority. The other half is still under litigation.
Town planning rules mandate that 10 per cent of a total residential layout area should be earmarked for public purposes. Such purposes can be a wide variety of facilities for the people of that area. It can be a park, a playground for children or a library.
There are many more public utilities that can be constructed on these sites. The rules also mandate that the layout plan must clearly show the reserved site if the authorities have to grant approval for it.
The residents of Alamu Nagar fought a case in the court alleging that the reserved site of nearly 60 cents (10 per cent of the six-acre layout area) was sought to be converted into residential plots by the promoter.
The Alamu Nagar Residents Welfare Association said the reserved site was illegally registered in the names of the daughters of the layout promoter. A house was constructed on six cents of the reserved site and it was ordered to be demolished after a long legal battle in the High Court and Supreme Court, the association said.
As much as 26 cents were retrieved and the Corporation began works to establish the park on it on October 10, 2009.
But, the promoter, acting as power agent for his daughters obtained a temporary stay in the District Munsif Court. The Corporation countered this and the court ruled in favour of the civic body.
The Corporation then constructed the park. “It is a dream come true for us, 27 years after the layout was formed,” joint secretary of the association N. Mohan Ram said.
Association president M. Balasubramaniam, secretary S.P. Paramasivam and treasurer V. Mahendran have thanked the civic body on the retrieval of the site and the construction of the park. It has a walkers' path for physical fitness and play area for children.
The rest of the reserved site was still under litigation as a writ appeal had been filed by the power agent against the ruling of the High Court, quashing a Government Order that de-reserved the site.
Residents of Sri Devi Nagar too had gone up to the Supreme Court and won a verdict against encroachment of a reserved site in their area.
Mr. Mohan Ram said that both the cases should be emulated elsewhere.
“Residents should identify the reserved sites in their locality and strive to protect it. It will be tough. But, it should be possible too. Our case shows that justice may have been delayed, but it will not be denied,” he said.