Monday, August 30, 2010

Lalbagh facelift: City not amused

Lalbagh facelift: City not amused
Bengaluru,


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Chief Minister's idea of giving Lalbagh a "facelift" by introducing a musical fountain, boating, a food court and an amusement park, has not gone down well with environmentalists and citizens who fear it may destroy a green oasis in the concrete jungle that Bengaluru is fast becoming, report Chandrashekar G.
and Shashiprasad M. The Lalbagh Walk- ers’ Association is particularly appre- hensive about the proposal to intro- duce a rock garden on 28 acres of land in the garden as it fears this could threaten the natur- al rock formation which is already a part of it. There is only opposition to our plans that involve the use of technology like a musical fountain and a laser beam show for Lalbagh.

Umesh Katti, horticulture minister The proposal for creating an amusement park in Lalbagh on the lines of the Sentosa Island in Singapore is entirely unscientific, as Bengaluru has not been planned like Singapore.

Prof. Shankar Rao We have sent the proposal to develop Lalbagh to the urban development department as promised by Chief Minister B.S.
Yeddyurappa. The project will be executed by either BBMP or the BDA.

N. Jayaram, horticulture director

The government seems to be getting carried away in its enthusiasm to develop the city. Building a Metro Rail, flyovers and subways may be a good thing, but is “developing” what is left of the city’s lung spaces really necessary? Chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s recent announcement that Lalbagh will be given a “facelift” with the addition of a musical fountain, boating, a food court and an amusement park, has not amused environmentalists or those accustomed to taking their morning walks in the park’s calm, green surroundings, cocooned against the noise of a growing city.
The plan for a so-called “new and improved” Lalbagh is causing great concern among members of the Lalbagh Walkers’ Association, who rightly feel that introducing commercial activities such as boating and an amusement park in the park will destroy a green oasis in the concrete jungle that the city is becoming.

“The Lalbagh botanical garden is one of the most diverse gardens of its kind in South Asia and has a rich history, having been established during Tipu Sultan’s

regime," points out association president and member of the Lalbagh Garden Trust P. Sadashiva, who regrets that when the government should be working on increasing the green cover of the park and adding to its botanical value by planting more medicinal plants, it is coming up with more money making schemes that are bound to prove destructive in the long run. The association is particularly apprehensive about the proposal to introduce a rock garden on 28 acres of land in the garden as it fears this could threaten the natural rock formation which is already a part of it. "We will not tolerate any move that may harm the garden's natural rock formation," warns Mr Sadashiva, adding that the noise and people around a musical fountain and amusement park will only discourage birds from visiting Lalbagh.
"We would rather have it developed into an urban forest," says the concerned nature lover, suggesting that the government should show its concern for Lalbagh by making sure it is properly maintained.” “Senior officials admit they have only 50 gardeners as against the 200 required for its upkeep,” he says, also deploring the fact that no effort is made to keep stray dogs out of the botanical garden.

Former judge of the Karnataka High Court M.F. Saldanha couldn’t agree more and accuses the horticulture department of first destroying the greenery in Cubbon Park and now trying to do same in Lalbagh.

“An expert committee with citizens of Bengaluru as members should be formed to manage its parks and the horticulture department should be told to concentrate on other matters in the state,” he says.

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