Udupi, Oct 31 2019: Residents of Hiriyadka village have opposed the fencing of the Gandhi Maidan to use it to stock sand.
It is the only ground in the village where sports and cultural activities are being organised at regular intervals for many decades. The ground was used by residents of Bommarabettu, Pachanabettu, Kodibettu, and Anjaru Gram Panchayats to organise sports and cultural programmes. It was also used by the students of a school located behind the Bommarabettu Gram Panchayat office in Hiriyadka.
The district administration has fenced the ground with no prior notice and converted it into a sand stockyard. Security guards were also deployed and CCTV cameras were installed by the authorities to discourage theft of sand that was mined from the Baje dam.
Officials were even planning to install a weighbridge at the ground to weigh the sand prior to distribution.
MP, MLA urged
The villagers, led by the Gandhi Maidan Ulisi Horata Samithi, had submitted memoranda, urging the Udupi-Chikmagalur MP, MLA and the deputy commissioner to hand over the ground for public use. The elected representatives and the deputy commissioner had responded positively, the Samithi members said.
Senior citizens recollected that the ground was earlier called military camping ground.
In order to make the rugged terrain convenient for use of people of all age groups, the members of Navodaya Friends of Hiriyadka, along with the help of the public, had dumped loads of mud on the site. The hard terrain was thereby transformed into a playground some years ago.
“Even state-level flood-lit cricket and volleyball tournaments and Yakshagana performances were organised on the ground by many organisations,” the citizens said.
The ground is also used by senior citizens for their morning and evening walks. The fencing of the ground has caused a lot of inconvenience to people and also prevented children from playing there, the residents have charged.
There people, therefore, have urged the district administration to retain the ground for public use as before.