There are no good parks, leave alone amusement parks

The “summer beach” is back in the city for the second consecutive year, much to the delight of not only the Tiruchiites, but also a large number of tourists and devotees visiting the city during this holiday season.

The “summer beach” on Cauvery river bed at Ammamandapam in the city is nothing but an expanse of sand. A certain area of the river bed has been cleared by the corporation, marking the boundary for enjoying the summer evenings. The lighting arrangement has provided added attraction to the area. The petty vendors selling commonly available murukku, groundnut, sundal, and so on are present here too in good number, like any other area where people assemble in good number. Music programmes, dance performances, pattimandrams and so on provide entertainment to the people only during the weekend holidays.

Despite the limited recreation facilities, hundreds of people, both young and old, throng this summer beach daily during the evening hours. The large gathering even on such a dry river bed with limited facilities and infrastructure, only proves the desperation of the people for recreational facilities in the city and the surrounding areas.

Tiruchi district lags behind Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, Salem, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, and Ramanathapuram in the number of tourist spots.

Mukkombu and Puliancholai are the only saving grace (Kallanai, though very close to Tiruchi, is in Thanjavur district) and the large gathering at these centres during weekend, festival, and other holidays bears testimony to the fact that people have been craving for spot where they can chill. With both the rivers Cauvery and Coleroon going dry, Mukkombu and Kallanai have become barren.

Only the commercial exhibitions hosted regularly by the private concerns and service organisations provide entertainment to the people of Tiruchi. The Information and Pubic Relations Department last year revived its annual exhibition and it has planned to have the exhibition this year too at the Vestry School ground.

The people have been time and again demanding the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation to create recreation spots. Assurances were given year after year, but nothing tangible has taken place. The city does not have any theme park. Even the “parks” in the residential localities are not being properly maintained.

The park in the Highways Colony, which had a profusion of greenery till a couple of years ago, is now deserted. The play equipment have been damaged and the space is gradually turning into an eyesore. Coimbatore, Madurai and Salem all boast theme parks Tiruchi is the only major city in the State that does not have such a facility. Thanjavur, a municipal town (now upgraded into a corporation), has the well-maintained sprawling Sivagangai Park, where water sports is major attraction. Starved of entertainment, a large number of people from Tiruchi flock Sivagangai Park during weekends and holidays. In the absence of any choice, cinema remains the only option of recreation for the people of Tiruchi. The year has already seen a good number of movies hit the silver screen, and the latest clutch of releases particularly in the holiday period has brought much cheer to movie buffs. Not only the cinemas where new movies have been released, but also the ones screening the old movies too have been doing good business. Tiruneveli, a smaller city than Tiruchi, has mini parks with facilities like see-saw, swings etc in each and every residential locality. These parks came up under the Namakku Naame Scheme and Sudeep Jain, the then Corporation Commissioner was the moving force behind this. The recent Corporation budget has revived the hope of the people of Tiruchi in getting more recreational facilities. The Tiruchi City Corporation has revived proposals on establishing a water theme park and a science park in the city, both mooted nearly a decade ago. The water theme park is planned on a 15-acre site at Panchapur. However, the civic body will seek expert opinion before firming up the proposal.

The science park is to come up at the corporation grounds at Anna Nagar, where a similar project was abandoned midway through some years ago. The corporation has now allocated Rs. 3 crore for the project. The corporation should take immediate steps for creating recreational facilities in the already existing parks, says A. Robert Ambrose, a former officer of the Department of Commercial Taxes. Setting up toy trains and water sports facility, on the lines of Sivagangai Park, does not require huge investment. Besides, the corporation should renovate all the existing parks in the residential localities. Residents’ welfare associations and corporates will only be too glad to help in accomplishing this, Mr. Ambrose says.

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