Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Litter blooms in Lalbagh show

Litter blooms in Lalbagh show
Deccan Herald

Hot bajjis, tins of coke, loads of popcorn and peanuts, roasted butta (maize), bhel puri, pani puri, dosa, idli-vada and puliyogare, ice cream, juices and fruits, steaming hot coffee and tea. The list of eatables available at Lalbagh is endless. So is the litter strewn all across the park. From plastic cups, plates, paper, foil, empty bottles to cans — you have them all.

Ironically, the ongoing Republic Day Flower Show — an event meant to educate people on the progress made in horticulture and to encourage love for plants, has created a ‘litter park’ out of Lalbagh. While, the choice of food available at the park seems to have outnumbered even the varieties of flowers on display, horticulture department officials maintain that only a couple of foodchains are authorised to sell food.

“We have our traditional partner — MTR and a couple more foodchains and ice cream brands opening stalls. However, we admit there is a big menace of unauthorised food vendors. They jump the compound wall and take advantage of the fact that we have less number of volunteers,” rued an official.

While the authorities argued that even the authorised stalls were not allowed to cook, but only heat and serve pre-cooked food, the presence of vendors frying bajjis right in the middle of the lawns, or the chaatwalas running full-fledged “hotels” on the benches strangely went “unnoticed” by the authorities.

“A long pending proposal is to create eco-friendly cottages and food court near Siddapur gate, which can be cordoned off from the main park area. This will solve the problem of littering. Lack of civic sense is the bane,” said Mr G K Vasanth Kumar, Director of Horticulture.

Logistics failure?

While, this year’s show comes with a promise to showcase lesser-known fruits and promote flowers as the cultural heritage of Karnataka, the event is seriously short of logistics, lamented disappointed visitors.

“There is no one to regulate the stream of visitors inside the Glass House. It is a free for all,” said Ms Latha Prakash, a mother of two.

“The department is working out a single entry and exit points for the exhibition area in the Glass House, as it is getting chaotic on weekends and holidays. We also want to ban plastic. But unless, we employ more people for vigilance and create infrastructure like kiosks to keep visitors’ belongings, it cannot be implemented.”

The crammed roads and the traffic congestion around Lalbagh was again a cause of worry to both the traffic and horticulture departments.

“Not many visitors make use of the parking area inside Lalbagh. We have a parking lot with a capacity to hold 15,000 cars. The entrance to the parking is from the Kengal Hanumanthaiah Road. However people prefer on-street parking,” Mr Kumar pointed out.


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