Officials say establishment of the park would significantly improve the environment

While the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation move to develop a Green Park at Panchapur on the outskirts of the city has largely been welcomed by conservationists; however, doubts linger about the suitability of the location as a leisure facility.

The park is coming up adjacent to the city’s massive sewage treatment farm, off Tiruchi-Madurai National Highway, and the corporation had expressed its intent to develop it as an amusement park.

The Green Park is coming up about five acres of land in the 200-acre sewage farm and work is under way on planting saplings and creating other amenities at the site.

Corporation Commissioner V.P. Thandapani has said that a variety of tree saplings and herbal plant species would be raised in the park. It would have a meditation hall, a small zoological park, a toy train, and models of the Seven Wonders of the World, he added.

Mr. Thandapani had invited city residents to participate in the initiative by sponsoring a tree sapling by contributing Rs. 3,000. So far, about 200 people had joined the initiative including a few school students.

By and large, the project seems to have the support of environmental activists. “We need something of this kind in the city. It is a good initiative and the corporation should not stop with announcements and ensure that the project comes up,” said C. Balasubramanian, president, District Exnora.

Mr. Balasubramanian and a few other conservationists stress the need for taking up a greening campaign in other parts of the city as well. There are dissenting voices too.

N. Ramakrishnan, founder, MGR Nalpani Mandram, and a civic activist, questions the suitability of the site.

“Although the greening initiative at the sewage farm is a welcome move, the site is not suitable for establishing an amusement park. It will prove to be a wasteful expenditure. Given the stench that hangs in the air around the sewage farm, it is not a wise move to set up a meditation hall at the site. Such a facility should ideally be located on the banks of the Cauvery river,” he said.

Mr. Ramakrishnan is among those who had been critical of a proposal, unveiled by the corporation in its 2013-14 Budget, to establish a water theme park at Panchapur citing that it would be unsuitable for such public facilities. But corporation officials counter the argument saying that the establishment of the Green Park would significantly improve the environment and express confidence it would get good public patronage.

It is pointed that Panchapur is the only place where the civic body has large tracts of land and an integrated market complex is planned there.

Civic activists are sore that many of the corporation’s announcements and plans remain on paper and hope that the Green Park project does not meet a similar fate or remain left poorly maintained after being established. However, the corporation appears keen on making the project a success as evident from the thrust it was getting from the civic authorities.