Saturday, November 07, 2009

Lalbagh Walkers' Assn says no to ID cards

Lalbagh Walkers' Assn says no to ID cards

Walkers say they are intrinsic to the park's identity. They plan to hold a protest demonstration at Glass House tomorrow

Arun Dev. Bangalore



Irked by the horticulture department's decision to introduce an annual fee for walkers and joggers for issuing identity cards, the Lalbagh Walkers' Association held a meeting on Friday and took a decision to protest against the move.
"The garden is public property and it is over 200 years old. Anyone can visit the park. When it comes to morning walkers, they are intrinsic to the park's identity and many of them share a long relationship with it. By issuing identity cards, the authorities are making Lalbagh a privilege of few which is not acceptable," said Dr Sadashiv, president of Lalbagh Walkers' Association.
The members of the association feel that the authorities have been high-handed and undemocratic in taking such a decision without consulting the walkers first. "None of the morning walkers were consulted before the decision to issue ID cards was taken. I was present at the trustee meeting, but there was no mention of such a move there,"said Dr Sadashiv.
He further added,"When I asked, I was told that they had apparently taken the decision two years ago and are implementing it only now."
The walkers' association is planning to launch a full-fledged protest against the move. On November 8 (Sunday), the association is planning to hold a public meeting at the Glass House at 7am. "We will voice our dissent against this proposal. Earlier also the authorities had attempted to come up with proposals that were not acceptable to us and we had protested against them. This time also it will be no different," said G Kodandaram, a member of the association.
Another walker, Banshankara said, " After metro work started, a chunk of the garden's land has been taken away. Now there are only three toilets around the walking area for the whole garden and they are very badly maintained. If this fee is introduced, it will act as a fresh blow and the number of walkers is bound to reduce."
Pointing out further flaw in the plan, Dr Sadashiv said, "Many of the walkers are aged people and they might just forget to bring the ID cards. Then they would be deprived entry inside the park and this would unnecessarily harass the elderly."
Prof MR Doreswamy, member of the legislative council and chairman of the PES Group of Educational Institutions, said that if security is what the Lalbagh authorities are concerned about, they should employ more guards and also install CCTVs across the garden.

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