Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bangalore not ready for a Hyde Park, yet

Bangalore not ready for a Hyde Park, yet


Rakshita Adyanthaya | ENS
29 Sep 2008 05:48:00 AM IST

BANGALORE: As if the traffic woes are not enough, daily protest rallies have added to the chaos in Bangalore. To remedy the traffic congestion caused by this, a proposal was made to the government to create a space for protests in Bangalore a la the Hyde Park in London.

No positive developments on this front have happened since and many senior officers do not even know of any such proposal.

However, many Bangaloreans, who take to the streets protesting, do not buy the concept of a Hyde Park in Bangalore.

‘’Screaming in isolation in a park exclusively meant for protesting wouldn’t fetch us anything.What better to get attention than creating chaos in the heart of the City and a place close to most media homes,’’ said the managing director of an event management company.

Dr G Ramesh, DCP Central Zone, Bangalore city police said: ‘’It is a democratic nation and each person has a right to express his demand. A place like Hyde Park is essential, but the Mahatma Gandhi statue is no less.We make sure the protestors do not violate any law.’’ Unlike the Hyde Park, protests near the Mahatma Gandhi statue, Banappa Park, or even the Corporation Circle often cripple traffic as people from across the State want to protest at the busiest spot in the City.

So far Bangalore has witnessed more than 7,000 protests in the last eight years. On an average, each year there are about 920 protests registered and the number continues to increase every year.

With 470 protests in eight months this year, the City has witnessed an average of three protests a day, and the numbers go as high as three at one spot on certain days, said Dr G Ramesh, whose permission is to be sought before staging the protests in the Central Zone.

He added that some of them do not seek permission from the police, and many who seek permission from the Commissioner do not fall in their records.

A Central division police sub-inspector while handling a protest march said: ‘’Once permission is sought, we have to provide them with police protection. A Hyde Park-like space makes sense for Bangalore, because it is not just the protestors, even the onlookers, passers-by and the media add to the already uncontrollable traffic woes.’’ G Ramesh said: ‘’The protesters make a noise for half an hour or so and once the media makes a note of it they calm down.’’

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