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Manjit Bopirai -Developer-Plan to change Punjab Place to Oak Tree Place in Logan


Plan to change Punjab Place to Oak Tree Place in Logan

  • Residents want to change street's name
  • Say Punjab Place 'is not pretty'
  • Accused of being racist

August 13, 2009
By Anna Caldwell
The Courier-Mail

A RACE row is brewing in the quiet cul-de-sac of Punjab Place at Logan, south of Brisbane, as 32 residents petition to change the street's Indian name.

THE man who called a Queensland street Punjab Place said an attempt to change the name was "clear cut racism".

Developer Manjit Bopirai said he was responsible for the subdivision at Boronia Heights, in Logan south of Brisbane in 2005, and the street was named at his request.

Residents of the Oak Tree Lifestyle retirement village have lodged a petition with Logan City Council seeking to change the street's name to Oak Tree Place.

Mr Bopirai told The Courier-Mail that he would fight for the name Punjab Place.

"It's our heritage, it's our money. We can name it whatever we like," Mr Bopirai said. 

"I have never called Australia a racist country but in this instance I will. These elderly people just want to make a noise. What's wrong with that name Punjab Place ?" 

Mr Bopirai  chose the name Punjab Place because he was from the northwest Indian state of Punjab.

"I'm a proud Punjabi. It's just a name we like and it lets everyone know we are successful people." 

Due to accusations of racism the name change petition may be withdrawn from council.

'Nicer name'

Yesterday residents said they still wanted the street renamed Oak Tree Place, after the Oak Tree Lifestyle Village that dominates a quarter of the streetscape. 

A 32-signature petition was submitted by village manager Dawn Ludlow to Cr Lynne Clarke, stating Oak Tree Place was a more suitable name for the street than Punjab - a northwest Indian state.

Residents outside the Boronia Heights village yesterday said they signed the petition because they felt Oak Tree was "prettier".

"This isn't racist," resident Ron Edmonds said.

"Oak Tree is just a nicer name."

Further up the cul-de-sac, resident Annie Liu said Punjab was an "Indian name".

"It is not against Indians but this is a beautiful street and Oak Tree is a beautiful name," she said.

"Punjab isn't as much."

But Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin president Umesh Chandra said the request to rename the street was devastating.

Given the controversy over attacks on Indian students in Australia, plans to remove an Indian street name would make relations worse.

"Regardless of whether this is just because one name is prettier than another, people in India would see it as a terrible slur; they are already cancelling trips to Australia over the treatment of students," Mr Chandra said.

"The majority of Indian students coming to Australia come from Punjab, too, which means this would escalate tensions.

"It is very disappointing. The name of the street is special."
Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national/plan-to-change-punjab-place-to-oak-tree-place-in-logan/story-e6frfkvr-1225760824639#ixzz19dbDSPv6