MYSURU: The controversy surrounding the domes on a bus shelter on the Mysuru-Nanjangud Road has snowballed into a BJP vs BJP fight with Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha sticking to his stand on demolition of the structure, by Krishnaraja BJP MLA S A Ramadass distancing himself from it.
On a day the MP’s deadline to the Mysore City Corporation to demolish the bus shelter expired, MLA Ramadass, who spoke to the media for the first time since the controversy broke out, played the emotional card saying that if he is at fault over the issue he would apologise for it and would even pay the cost incurred in building the bus shelter. “Please do not drag me into the issue”, he said with folded hands.
Hinting that he was being forced to leave the party, Ramadass remarked, “Thirty years ago, we were 10 MLAs together. Now, I am the only one left”.
Further, he added, “I am only concerned about development. It is my dream to see parks and crematoriums developed. I have met the CM and the party state president and requested them to set up an expert committee to go into the issue. I will go with whatever the committee says”.
Reacting to this, Pratap Simha retorted sharply saying, “He got a pat on the back from none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. Do I even have the capacity to trouble him?”
However, he would not back down on his stand regarding the controversial bus shelter. “Now that the NHAI is seized of the matter, I will not speak about it. If the authorities do not demolish the bus shelter, I will speak out when I have to”, he asserted.
On Wednesday, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) issued a notice to the Mysore City Corporation and the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited (KRIDL) directing them to ensure the removal of the bus shelter constructed on National Highway-766 within a week.
“The bus stop has been constructed even though many times our engineers have stopped the work within the National Highway right of way”, the NHAI said in the notice.
“In this connection it is advised to remove the structure, constructed to achieve ‘controversial kind of issues’ which is not acceptable, and accordingly, one week time has been given to remove the controversial structure, it said.
The NHAI further said, “Since it has developed into a communal issue, as per the national Highway Administration Act, this may be treated as notice, otherwise as per the Highway Administration Act 2003 action will be initiated”, the NHAI said.
Further, Pratap Simha continued, “I have kept my word on changing the Tipu Express name, stopping the Mahisha Dasara celebration and I’m firm on this issue as well. The unauthorised domes on the bus shelter have to go. Development works in Mysuru should bear the Wodeyar dynasty’s names and not their enemies. There is no need for any expert committee since KRIDL experts themselves have approved the original plan”.
“Politicians of Mysuru have enough money to destroy me. Ramadass himself should clarify who is troubling him and how. I’m not here to indulge in real estate politics and I’m only concerned about development”, he added.
Amidst the political tussle, the original plan of the bus shelter has now become the topic of discussion. The approved plan has no domes on the bus shelter, but another plan, signed by the MLA’s secretary shows the domes and the structure has been constructed accordingly, raising several questions.
On October 29, 2021, the bus shelter plan was approved by the KRIDL with no domes on it. But on February 1, 2022, another plan with the the domes was submitted, which had not been approved. Yet the construction was taken up as per the unapproved plan, giving rise to a fresh controversy.
Meanwhile, though the KRIDL instructed the contractor to stop the work on Wednesday itself, work was carried out overnight and the colour of all the three domes has been changed.
Referring to this, Pratap Simha said, “Only thieves work at night. Why should work go on at night? There is a procedure for naming bus shelters. How did they name it overnight? Rules have been violated in all this”.