Chennai: Launched in 2011 with much fanfare, the only herbal park in this metropolis situated in Otteri cries for attention from civic body after it was ravaged during Cyclone Vardah that pounded Chennai coast in December last year.
Vardah, the powerful cyclone that packed winds with speed of 110 km per hour, uprooted more than 150 herbal trees in the park and no steps have been taken to even remove the debris, even after seven months. And the park has now turned into a den for anti-social elements, who even consume alcohol in the evening.
Herbal research students, asthma and diabetes patients, who believed that inhaling the air would cure them and walkers, who used to flock in great numbers, have stopped visiting the park almost completely due to lack of maintenance.
“We are afraid to walk in the evening inside the park as some miscreants consume alcohol here. We need protection from police. Also, there is no water in the toilets. There is no compound which would protect the park and the people who use it for walking and relaxing,” Andal, one of the frequent visitors to the park, said.
Locals and neighbours say the herbal park was not all maintained and it has become so bad that the footpaths pose danger to the walkers with garbage being dumped inside the premises.
“Plenty of trees uprooted due to Vardah in last December, but no action was taken by the Chennai corporation to restore those trees,” said R. Rajendran, member of Herbal Park Welfare Association member.
“I have been living here for 13 years and we planted herbal saplings in the park. The state government is least bothered to take any action to bring in positive changes to the park by planting new trees and plants, refurbishing the park, bringing back all the trees that had been giving healthy atmosphere,” he added. When contacted, Thiru Vi. Ka Nagar MLA P Thayagam Kavi said he had raised the plight of the park during the last Assembly session.
“The herbal park was constructed in 2011 funded by Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The park’s beauty and healthiness have been deteriorating day by day due to lack of maintenance and indifference from the government. Even, Adyar Tholgappiyan Park and Semmozhi Park on Radhakrishnan road are not maintained properly,” Mr Kavi added....