Thursday, July 01, 2010

Litterbugs mar Eco park's beauty

Litterbugs mar Eco park's beauty

Authorities should take more care in maintaining this large lung space

Bosky Khanna



Although it may sound strange, Shaijal K, an eight-year-old, does her studies in a park in Padmanabha Nagar every evening. The place is peaceful unlike other parks and gives her lessons more than what the textbooks can teach.
"It's true. Apart from textual knowledge, I have learnt a lot about the flora and fauna found here. The air is filled with butterflies and I keep observing them. I never knew there are so many types of them. I would love to study more about them,'' says she.
The Eco Park in Padmanabha Nagar is a welcome relief for one living amid a concrete jungle which the city has turned into. Locals of the area, especially senior citizens, visit this park to relax for a while. Some spend time talking quietly with their friends or leisurely flipping through journals.
The park has a small temple and two big banyan trees standing nearby greeting residents with the rustle of leaves and chirping of birds. "Every morning and evening, I visit the park without fail. For the last 26 years, I have watched saplings grow into trees. During mornings and evenings, one can see senior citizens walking or doing yoga, children studying and others sitting quietly on benches,'' says K Nagaratna, a resident.
Thirty years ago, the place was a barren hillock with thorny bushes over. It was transformed into the Eco Park by ML Lalithamma, an ayurvedic doctor. Her spirit of community service made her plant over 600 trees of 107 species painstakingly collected from across India. The Eco Park was born. Today, it is called the Malnad of Bangalore by ecologists.
"This is my home and every tree is my family member," says Lalithamma. "I made this park because this is my way of serving the society. I spent all my savings and developed this park at a cost of about Rs40 lakh. The park has been planned and mapped. Bore well water is used to water the plants."
The park and the temple are being maintained by the Sri Dashavatara Lakshmi Narayana Temple Trust.
Another feature that makes it stand out from other parks is that there are no ornamental plants, trees or lawns here. The park has a Vasavana, Bilavana, Shwetha Ashwathavana, Kadamba Vana, Navagraha park, Vrukshavana and a flora and herbal park.
Visitors have one grouse. The fountain area is not maintained properly and it is the breeding ground for mosquitoes. A walk around the park shows the facility's underbelly. One can randomly see domestic garbage in plastic bags. Visitors eat in the park and throw the waste wherever they like.
The senior citizens' association of the locality meets every day in the park. It celebrates the birthdays of members every month in the park. They term this place as their home. Some come here just to relax. Others take a walk in the RK Layout Park with lawns and ornamental parks.
Visitors say this is the best park in the city. But the area needs to be kept clean and proper seating arrangement should be provided. "We visit the park every day as we love it. All we want is proper seating arrangement, clean environment and toilet facility as we are old,'' says BS Rajanna, a resident.

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