Unlike the Lalbagh, which is a gated garden, the 190-acre Cubbon Park is vulnerable to encroachment. In fact, it has fallen victim to several encroachments in the form of government and private buildings.
Whatever little serenity that remains now faced the threat by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation's proposal to construct an underground line and two underground stations close to this heritage lung space.
The Vidhana Soudha and the cricket stadium underground stations will entail the felling of at least 200 trees, most of them full-grown, in and around this park. Apart from being the nemesis of numerous trees, construction of these stations will result in ceding 2,126 sq m of Cubbon Park land permanently. Before that Bangalore Metro will utilise about 11,000 sq m of park land for diversion roads for three years.
With the Bangalore Metro proposing to completely close down the Ambedkar Veedhi between Gopala Gowda Circle and the Police Thimmaiah Circle, it is building an alternative road through the lawns of the Vidhana Soudha. The proposal for another alternative road through the High Court lawns is awaiting the High Court's permission.
As the Raj Bhavan Road too will be closed for the cricket stadium underground station construction, Bangalore Metro proposes to build an alternative road inside Cubbon Park, passing through Press Club and the old KGID building.
Unlike Lalbagh, where vehicular movement is strictly regulated, Cubbon Park will be open to all kinds of vehicles once the proposed alternative roads are thrown open to traffic. The pressure on this increasingly fragile ecospace will then increase manifold.
While recommending permission for the alternative roads, the High Power Committee headed by the then Chief Secretary and appointed by the High Court, spoke of saving six trees and a few shrubs even as it permitted the felling of 196 trees. The only solution it offered was planting of 10 saplings for every tree felled within the Cubbon Park.
R. Venkataraman, committee member and retired ISRO Chief Engineer, had expressed serious reservations over the cutting of trees and wondered if any environment impact assessment was carried out for this particular stretch of the Metro project. Such an assessment would have suggested an environment management plan, he said. He recommended shifting of the Vidhana Soudha underground station itself towards the Multi-Storeyed Buildings further down to save Cubbon Park.