It was lying barren about five years ago

Forty-two Indian Forest Service (IFS) trainees of the 2012 batch, undergoing training at the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy at Dehradun, are on a field trip to sanctuaries and tiger reserves across the country. Their itinerary included a visit to a park maintained by Muthamizh Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association near Anna Nagar here on Saturday.

The IFS trainees, hailing from different States, were given a brief overview of how the park spread over 80 cents had been converted into an herbal garden rich with 62 species, including exotic varieties such as Diospyros ebenum called Thumbi or Karunkali in Tamil. The park also boasts of Parkia biglandulosa, popularly known as ‘badminton ball tree,’ and Santalum album (Indian sandalwood).

P.M. Rajkumar, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Forest Protection and Vigilance Wing, and a resident of Muthamizh Nagar, was the man who gave the new look to the park which was otherwise lying barren about five years ago and was all set to be converted into a vehicle parking lot of a private hospital.

The legal advisor of residents’ welfare association S. Muthukumar said that it was a representation made by the residents to the Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Petitions that led to an allotment of Rs. 10 lakh for the park. But when the corporation did not start work despite receiving the money, the residents got it done through a public interest litigation petition filed in the High Court Bench here.

Subsequently, one more PIL was filed seeking bore-well to water the plants. “After persistent efforts we have a beautiful park full of greenery, a walkway, nest boxes for birds and a play area for children. The only eyesore is a mega garbage bin kept by the corporation near the park,” he added. Mr. Rajkumar said that Chief Conservator of Forests Vijender Singh Malik too visited the park early this week and gave suggestions on improving it.

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