Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lalbagh makeover begins

Lalbagh makeover begins
New director takes up the task of cleaning the park
DEEPTHI M R


Non-working water dispensers, fleecing hawkers and rampant eve-teasing have haunted visitors to Lalbagh of late. But all that is changing now, as the botanical garden is bracing for a major makeover. Courtesy: The new horticulture director N Jayaram.
Within days after assuming charge, Jayaram has started cracking the whip against hawkers who dirty the place. He said, “The place had become a mess with too many unauthorised vendors selling snacks at the park. We wanted to put an end to this menace as this place is meant for people who want to breathe fresh air and for those who are interested in botany.”
Bangalore Mirror had published a report on June 30 about the problems haunting the garden. The report highlighted the problems faced by visitors at what was once known as the pendant among the gardens of the city.
Unauthorised vendors was not the only problem at Lalbagh; plastic covers, juice cartons and chips packets were strewn around the place. “We want the park to be clean. If people want to eat, litter the place and pass their time, they can go to the innumerable malls in the city which are meant for that. We will not entertain any unauthorised vendors inside Lalbagh,” Jayaram said.
Now with no vendors inside the garden, public are not allowed to even buy water inside the park. There are five drinking water outlets at Lalbagh out of which only one is in working condition. “We have filtered water outlets in the park, but some of them are under repair. We also want to clean up the filters before opening them up for public use,” he said.
“We used to charge a nominal fee for maintenance of these water outlets, but once we open them up again, water will be available free of cost,” he added.
Along with hawkers, even the Horticulture Produce Cooperative Marketing Societies (HOPCOMS) shops have also been removed. Mohan (name changed), a HOPCOMS stall owner, said, “We had five juice stalls and one ice cream stall at Lalbagh. But when the authorities evacuated all the unauthorised stalls, we were also asked to move out. Now with no place to go, we have opened small shops near the Corporation Circle.”
Jayaram said, “We want to treat everyone equally. While we were evacuating them, the unauthorised vendors objected and protested that we were being partial to the HOPCOMS vendors. So until we find a permanent solution for all this, we don’t want to entertain anyone in the garden.”

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