Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Rs 12-crore project to give Lalbagh a facelift

Rs 12-crore project to give Lalbagh a facelift
Minister To Do The Rounds Every Month; Entry Fee May Be Back
The Times of India

Bangalore: Further improvements are on the anvil for Lalbagh: other than completing the stalled work on the Glass House. The plans include a Rs 12 crore ‘Singapore-style’ rock garden, four toilets, better security, night cleaning and cobbled interlocking walkways all over the park.

A surprise visit to Lalbagh by horticulture minister Alangur Srinivas on the morning of December 23 brought forth 21 demands from morning walkers. And these plans are to address them.

It will, of course, come at a cost: Srinivas is mulling re-introducing an entry fee for morning walkers in Lalbagh. “I will hold discussions with the Walkers’ Association on Sunday and put this proposal before them. It could be a monthly fee, which will be utilised for additional development of Lalbagh and more facilities for them,’’ he told reporters here on Monday.

The Rs 4.77 crore fee collected so far from tourists who visit Lalbagh after 9 am has been pumped back for the park’s maintenance. “We have Rs 2 crore pending with us which we will use to effect minor repairs and plant more trees in Cubbon Park and Lalbagh,’’ Srinivas said.

The BDA’s Rs 14.5 crore plan for Lalbagh development including lighting, drinking water, renovation of the Glass House and so on, is to continue. “About 75 per cent funds were released for this was released, but work halted from the last four to five months as the rest of the money has not come. This will be taken up again,’’ he stated.

In addition, BDA will be asked to fund the horticulture department’s rock garden project for the 42 acres of rocky area near Siddapura Gate. A detailed project report has been drawn up and will be sent to the BDA for clearance.

The sour note is: the government is planning to ban entry to dogs. “We are asking the Bangalore City Corporation to ensure street dogs are taken away. Simultaneously, we are looking at banning domestic dogs on leashes also as they dirty the park,’’ Srinivas said.

Responding to the walkers’ complaint that the entire park is dirty in the morning, a clean-up is planned at 3 am. The police have been asked to post a traffic policeman and sort the daily morning mess outside Lalbagh West gate, while security has been beefed up.

And that is not all. “I will go there and spend at least one hour, every month, to ensure that Lalbagh is being maintained well,’’ said Srinivas.


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