BBMP special: Where are the parks in the Garden City?

In the last six years, the BBMP’s record in developing parks has been abysmal

Bengaluru: True to its sobriquet of Garden City, the city is dotted with hundreds of parks, foremost among them being Cubbon Park and Lalbagh. In 2004, the BBMP initiative to develop 100 parks a year got solid backing from Resident Welfare Associations, who joined hands with the agency to develop these parks. However, in the last six years, the BBMP’s record in developing parks has been abysmal.

Though 98 wards were added in 2007, not many parks were built in these areas. Encroachments, illegal ticket collection and closure of parks during the day have got citizens seeing red. Bengaluru is a 24- hour city and people work around the clock. But they aren’t given any freedom to make their own decisions of when to jog or work out. Though security guards and watchmen are present in the park area, the BBMP’s hypocrisy is quite evident as gates are locked to turn away couples and fitness enthusiasts.

‘Instead of increasing the number of parks, we see a reverse trend’

Harish Bijoor, Brand-expert & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

The ugly truth is that not enough attention has been given to increase the number of parks and lung-spaces in Bengaluru. We are a city of one crore-plus people. Add to this a floating population of around 14 lakh per day, and you have a humungous population and its lung-space requirement. Adequate planning has not gone into all this. Instead of increasing the number of parks, we see a reverse trend in the name of development. And that's ugly for you!

The bad lies in the fact that the condition of the existing parks is deteriorating. Upkeep is terrible and our parks, particularly in the remote corners of this 741 sq km spread of ours, have no lights and are prime property vulnerable to nefarious activities at night.

But it’s not all bad. Pay a visit to the Vishnuvardhan Park in Indiranagar. Take a walk around a 4-kilometer stretch and visit every small park out there. These parks have seen rejuvenation. At one end of the park you will find a kids’ play area and at another you will find an adult rejuvenation area. Exercise equipment has been installed in the open. These are sturdy pieces which find takers from all age groups. I have even seen those in their seventies using them, as well as youngsters.

This is really the ideal park eco-system Bengaluru requires. This is not only ‘Good’ but ‘Brilliant’! If need be, public-private partnerships may be the way to go. Let each one of us take these three models to the new Corporator we are slated to elect on 22 August. And let’s make better wards with better parks all around us.

‘Parks are eco-centres’

Suresh Heblikar, environmentalist

I am surprised at the way in which our parks are run. Parks are closed at night citing illegal activities. Even in the day time, parks are opened only between fixed hours. I think there is a need to change this system.

Today, youngsters, students, are travelling in large numbers to Bengaluru city. They are not ready to stay in their hotels all the time. Parks should be converted into resource centers for them to use. We can open resource centers in the parks where information on the parks, Bengaluru eco system, trees and birds found in the park, can be displayed. It will help them to understand the eco system and bio-diversity of the city in a better way.

There is a need to adopt a scientific approach towards developing the parks both in old Bengaluru as well as newly added areas. Except a few parks which are on the VVIP movement area, the condition of the parks is not satisfactory. A major chunk of the aid released for the park development is misused in the name of maintenance, new plantation etc. There is a need of planting the native species of trees, which are suitable to the city climate.

‘Parks should be well lit, kept open for public use’

V. Ravichander, chairman, feedback consulting

There is a dire need to upgrade the existing parks across the city as well as to earmark huge tracts of land and convert them into parks in future. The aesthetics of the park need to be improved, keeping in mind balanced horticulture, better walking paths, comfortable seating facilities for senior citizens and satisfactory play areas for children.

Parks should be developed and should be inviting and attractive, they should welcome people. During the Bengaluru Agenda for Task Force (BATF) importance was given to parks and their upkeep. There is considerable scope for roping in corporates to enhance the quality of parks with proper permission from authorities.

Ten years ago, BATF had developed MN Krishna Rao park into a beautiful and scenic spot. But till today, no effort has been made to improve or enhance the park — even the playing equipment has been damaged, which can be a danger to the children.

Parks are public property and should be well lit and kept open for public use rather than shutting or locking them up.

‘Park timings should be revised’

Leo Saldanha, environmentalist
arks are kept open only for few hours in a day and the timings are decided by the local corporation as per their whims and fancies. This has led to health crisis, as children are forced to stay indoors as parks happen to be major play areas. This has directly impacting our children. So, this practice should be done away with.

Parks should open early morning to ensure that general public can walk and children can play. And it should remain open till late evening, because lakhs of people reach their homes late in the night due to long office hours and traffic related woes. Parks are breathing place for all and the corporation should allow the public to use it properly.

Maintenance can be done even when the park is still open. Security is the responsibility of the BBMP. As this issue is much related to public health, park timings should be revised.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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