Monday, November 09, 2009

Fresh air is indeed free at Lalbagh

Fresh air is indeed free at Lalbagh
No Entry Fee, But Carrying ID Card Made Compulsory For All Walkers

Bangalore: Lalbagh, one of the biggest lung spaces in the concrete jungle that Bangalore is becoming, will continue to have free entry for morning and evening walkers.
After protests by the Lalbagh Walkers Association against the proposed annual fee of Rs 200, the horticulture department cancelled the move on Sunday. However, all walkers will mandatorily have to carry an ID card.
The association members met the department director on Sunday morning and discussed their concerns about the entry fee. “Most of them did not want the annual entry fee of Rs 200. We agreed to cancel it. But the ID card system will be applicable,” director N Jayram said. The fee to get ID cards made will be collected from morning and evening walkers.
“Few years ago, there was a blast at a park in Hyderabad. There was a murder here recently. For security reasons, the police have suggested we make ID cards compulsory,” he added.
The walkers are happy with the decision and don’t mind paying for the card. “In 2003 and 2006 too, this proposal had come up, and we had objected. They had to cancel it then. How can they charge us for fresh air? We are glad that the department has agreed to our demands. None of us mind paying Rs 50 for an ID card. If that helps keep the park secure, it’s ok,” association president Sadashiv said.
Association vice-president K A Shankar said a memorandum will be presented to the department director to get a written assurance that the entry fee issue will not be raised again.
MLC and chairman of PES Group of Educational Institutions M R Doreswamy, raised some other concerns at the meeting on Sunday. “There are just two toilets in Lalbagh, which are not maintained properly. Many diabetics walk here. Also, when it rains, the glasshouse is the only shelter. What if someone is at the other end of the park? There should be shelters on all sides, and also more recreational activities for children. Our grandchildren can then accompany us. I hope these are looked into. Our issue with the entry fee has been resolved,” he said.
“The ID card system is a good idea. But there are logistical problems. What if you misplace the card? As for curbing antisocial activities, I think they should keep an eye on people who come and feed the fish, take food in, vendors, etc. Monitoring walkers will not help much,” said regular walker and bird watcher, Deepak Arya.
Horticulture department had proposed to impose an annual fee of Rs 200 on walkers at Lalbagh Lalbagh Walkers Association met horticulture department director N Jayram on Sunday morning Proposal to impose entry fee has been withdrawn For security reasons, walkers will have to carry an ID card, which will be made at a cost of Rs 50 Written assurance pending Walkers also want more toilets and shelters at the garden Some feel the ID card system may lead to logistical problems


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