Ramlingam Tank Park, the only amusement park in the Silk City of Berhampur, has reportedly remained out of bounds of visitors and is being used for the recreation of MLAs belonging to the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), triggering widespread resentment among residents.
According to sources, the park meant for the recreation of the locals is occupied by MLAs, Ministers of the ruling party who are visiting the city to look after the implementation of smart school programme.
The information board put up at the park said it is closed for visitors from August 18 to 30. However, after dusk the park turns into a hub for amusement of the BJD leaders. A large number of BJD leaders, Ministers and their supporters reportedly gather at the park for partying which continue till late in the night.
According to sources, altogether 108 legislators of the ruling party are scheduled to visit the city within August 30 for the smart school programme.
Apart from denying entry to the locals, the administration is allegedly forcing local traders around the park to shut their shops after 3 pm, adversely affecting their business.
Laxmipriya Nayak, a resident of Berhampur said, “We got bored after staying at home due to Covid and came to visit the park today. However, we were told that the park is closed from August 18 to 30 as some MLAs and other VIPs are expected to come.”
“The park used to remain open till 8pm and we would do our business accordingly. However, the mandate by the administration to close shops by 3 pm is adversely affecting our business. But no one is bothered about our plight,” alleged Debasish Mohanty, a trader.
Apart from the locals, the Opposition BJP has also strongly reacted to the alleged ‘VIP Culture’ and threatened to launch agitation if the park was not opened for public.
“An unannounced curfew is imposed in the area. The board put up at the park says entry of public is restricted. On the other hand, MLAs and other leaders are visiting the park and having party till late night,” alleged Kanhu Charan Pati, former president of BJP Ganjam district unit.
Reacting to the allegations, Ganjam district BJD President Ramesh Chau Patnaik said, “Parks like Ramlingam is rare in Odisha. As the MLAs are visiting the district, they are like guest to us and we have to treat them. It may cause inconvenience to people for 10 days, but we should not think about it.”