A number of people, including students, enthusiastically participated in the cleaning of Vanitavana, a women's park in Hathill, on the occasion of International Women's Day on Thursday.

The programme was organised by Rokosato Yiene, Catherine Kune, and Vittal Betagiri, social work students who were interning with Citizen's Forum for Mangalore Development.

Located atop the hill and sometimes hard to find, the park has been developed rather haphazardly. Jogging/ walking tracks have been created by laying inter-lock tiles; but lampposts only have the pillars, the lamps are yet to be fixed. Similarly, there is a large circle in the centre of the park, but its purpose is unclear. Benches have been placed across the park, but the dead leaves on ground have not been cleared and several trees have crashed.

Students and several other people enthusiastically swept the ground, kicking up a lot of dust and gathered up the leaves and put them into baskets, which were taken away by two park staff and placed outside the park gate in a heap.

Gathering up a handful of leaves, Deepika Suvarna of Roshni Nilaya said the park was considered an isolated place, but it need not be if girls or women came in groups. She said that it was good that the park had been set up as otherwise, some builder would have built an apartment on the vacant land.

Student of St. Aloysius College Matthew Ma Hanah said that people need to understand each other and work for each other. Each person should make such an attempt, he said.

He suggested that there should be signboards guiding visitors as the park was in an isolated place.

The former Deputy Mayor Geeta Nayak said the Mangalore City Corporation had set aside Rs. 15 lakh for the development of the park and that a library and toilets were necessary. Artist Dinesh Holla said the park needs property security to keep the anti-social elements at bay.

Prabha Kudva, who manages the trust that looks after Gandhi Park in Mannagudda, said it was risky for women to go to the park without an escort.

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