THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Jawahar Nagar Welfare Association (JNWA) made it clear that a group of protestors’ demand to use the KPK Menon Memorial Playground in the colony will not be met. The association said it was forced to deny entry into the ground after families complained of antisocial activities being perpetrated by outsiders.
They added the ownership of the facility has been entrusted solely to the association by the Kerala State Housing Board (KSHB) and the area is exclusively earmarked for the use of the allottees of the colony. Entry is prohibited to non-members.
“Families living around the ground have been complaining about the trouble created by the outsiders who visited the ground. With the outsiders outnumbering the members, situation went out of control. There have been many instances of law and order violations. Therefore, the association had to close the ground to safeguard the interests of its members and their families,” said N Jayakumar, the association secretary.
“This is a serious issue that we have been facing. It is not just me but everyone in the colony who are affected. Earlier, we used to know the kids who played here but not anymore since the group consists of outsiders,” said Shaik Ahammed, a retired principal and resident of the colony.
“They not only cause damage to properties but also indulge in street racing. That is why we suggested building a walkway around the ground so that ladies and senior citizens in the colony can take a walk without fearing stray dogs or speeding vehicles,” said T P Sreenivasan, former diplomat and a Jawahar Nagar resident. “The ground has always been used by the members and the new demands are very unfair,” he said.
“A majority of those who came to play here in the last couple of years were above 25 years of age. They are now using children as a ploy to encroach the space,” said Jayakumar. “Our priority is the well-being and safety of the residents and hence, we cannot allow outsiders anymore,” he said.
Jayakumar said he also has in his possession KSHB documents which confirm the association’s right to the property. According to the Housing Board, the public ground belonging to all allottees can be used by them without hampering the freedom of other allottees, but people from outside Jawahar Nagar Housing Scheme have no claim to the ground.
“As alleged by some, we have never demanded or collected money from anyone for using the ground. Also, it is baseless to say only a few original allottees remain in the colony. Some of the original allottees have passed away or left the colony, but their rights are naturally transferred to the subsequent owners in possession,” said retired air marshal P Madhusoodhanan, also president of JNWA.
“The association has been conducting cricket coaching on the ground for three years. We will now directly conduct sports camps for boys and girls aged 16 years and below to nurture their talent,” said N P Vijayan, a committee member of the association.