Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Twin Park, Indiranagar's pride

Twin Park, Indiranagar's pride

It's a good example of citizen partnership in maintaining a public facility

PK Surendran



The Twin Park of Indiranagar, a three-acre oasis sandwiched between 13th and 15th cross, is the matrix of social life of Indiranagar. It is held aloft as an example of private-public partnership in the upkeep of common wealth of citizens like parks.
Administrated by the BBMP and run by the Indiranagar Welfare Association, it serves the society in more than one way. Its pre-eminence could be gauged from the fact that every year, the Twin Park walks away with the honour of being the "well maintained park" at the flower show.
Besides its seminal purpose of giving people a place for getting their daily dose of oxygen and walking, it serves as nursery for saplings, holds a Sunday cultural programme (mostly classical music fete), and holds every morning a 'laughing club' for senior citizens who keep their sagging health by doing yoga fuelled by laughter.
"I can't think of a life without this park," says K Prakash, an active member of the association. "Except for the stinking toilet, everything else is fine here," he says.
Surprisingly, the BBMP had, before the association stepped in, put 20 workers on its pay role for the maintenance, thus self-bleeding unnecessarily. Among them is Lalitha, a 58-year-old woman who sits the whole day at the gate trying to dissuade people from coming in. Her wizened face cracks a smile when asked about her role. "Gardener," she says in English.
The two parks, born as Siamese twins some 30 years ago under the midwifery of the Bangalore Development Association, was later handed over to the BBMP.
"We took over the running of this park in 2007," says association secretary N Lingappa. "We provided the garden with ample light, paved the walking track with bricks and persuaded the Palike to build a tile-roofed stage for the artists and audience. Let me tell you, almost all the 300-odd people who visit the park every day are a happy lot," says he. The president of the association Krishnamurthy Naik nods in assent.
As it always happens, the makers of the park had not thought of the comforts of the users. "Initially, the park did not have a toilet. Many visitors are diabetic or suffering from erratic blood pressure. They needed the urinal frequently. So we collected money among ourselves and built two toilets, one for women and one for men. But the Palike has not bothered to maintain them," says he.
True, the toilet is stinking to heaven. "We cannot collect money for everything," Lingappa adds. He is broadly true as a talk with strollers and joggers reveal. But there are pinpricks.
Sangeetha Gopal, an aerobics guru living close to the park, is a much-troubled woman these days. "They," she says anger showing in her voice, "raise such a hell of a laugh every morning, it sounds eerie and my aerobics students are troubled. And the Sunday cultural fete should have been an internal affair. Instead, loudspeakers jolt the residents out of their wits."
Sangeetha sounds fair, "I will grant them the credit of running the park well, but what rights have they to disturb the neighbourbood?"
The young teacher says the elders who run the park want her to stop the music accompaniment with aerobics. "They had the cheek to tell me that," she shrieks.
Then there are critics in the association who carp at the office-bearers seeking contributions often. K Jayaraj, a member and founder president of East Bangalore Lorry Association, wants the leaders not to resort to contributions.
But all the users and passers-by, agree on one thing: This is a swell of a park and a fine example of citizen partnership in maintaining a public facility.
"There are a dozen parks in Indiranagar, but none is so well looked after as this one," says Ramesh Katti, a businessman living a block away from the park.

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