Tuesday, June 29, 2010

People'S PARK Sprouting up

People'S PARK Sprouting up

It shows the way as they have a say in everything including design

Bosky Khanna

Fruits of hard work are always sweeter. One such is the park at Koramangala 3rd Block. After years of battle, local residents were able to win back an acre of land for the park. Now they are developing it the way they want it with the help of civic agencies.
The park work started just eight months ago. So don't be surprised by the sight of lantana bushes and barren patches. For greenery to fill the space, you have to further wait. But residents are sure that with a budget of Rs1 crore, the place will be turned into an ecological park after six months. So far, the stoned pathways have been constructed and benches put up for citizens to relax.
To green the place, about 140 native tree species will be planted along with aromatic and herbal plants. For this, guidelines are being sought from noted environmentalist AN Yellappa Reddy. Rohit Marolli, a resident working with Terra Firma, is helping with the park's design. A children's play area is being created at the centre of the park. Besides this, the park has a reading room for senior citizens and a rain water harvesting plant.
Muralidhar Rao, a member of Praja Bangalore, seems to be a little upset over the stoned pathway. He prefers grassy paving. But he admits that the stoned pathway helps senior citizens to walk around easily without getting their feet and shoes dirty. Such pathways are common in most city parks like in Indiranagar, ST Bed and other parks of Koramanagala.
Park planners should also be concerned about children's well-being. Kids should be given an opportunity to play in the grass and climb on trees. Hence there should be more natural grass and trees and less lawn.
The land where the park stands now was a playground spread across survey numbers 39 to 41. Survey number 39, where the park is located, was allotted to various institutions in the early 1990s. But residents began to make enquiries and found that the site was allotted for civic amenity.
Despite their finding, concrete boards were erected and the land was allotted for construction. When the residents approached the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), they found that it was allotted for a playground according to BDA Act 1976 following the comprehensive development plan (CDP) 1984. The residents then approached the court. After six years of battle, the allotment for playground was cancelled. In 2002, the court ordered survey number 39 to be developed into a park. In 2005, the BDA handed over the site to the BBMP for creating a lung space.
Air Vice-Marshal (retd) Suresh G Heble, a resident, who played a key role in the battle for the park, says a lobby did its best to set up a cricket academy across survey numbers 39 to 41. But its efforts were foiled with the help of MLA Ramalinga Reddy. So, of the three acres spread through the three survey numbers, an acre was reserved for the park, another acre was fenced and maintained as a playground while the rest was lost due to encroachments.
Heble is a proud resident now as the park he fought for is slowly being developed the way the residents want it. The Residents' Welfare Association of Koramangala 3rd Block is coordinating with the BBMP and the horticulture department in this.
What residents are doing is commendable, but they can do better, says Rao. It is nice to learn that citizens are involved in developing the park and they have a say in its growth, he adds.
Speaking to DNA, Koramangala corporator BN Kokila Radhakrishna says involving residents in the development of the park is a novel method which should be followed by other city parks. "We will develop more parks in this manner. At present, we are awaiting funds from the government and the BBMP. The plan is ready. Special attention is being paid to the park in 3rd Block as this is the only such facility in the area and senior citizens are demanding a lung space here," says she.
They have also plans to develop Wipro Park, Swabhimana Park and Lakshmidevi Park.


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