Chokkikulam gets fresh dose of green cover, thanks to Soroptimist International Madurai

Concrete, more concrete, buildings, and more buildings dot the urban scene. But now there is a breathing space in between at Chokkikulam. On October 2, Gandhi Jayanti, a new park was born amidst the apartment blocks and bungalows of Chokkikulam, bringing two-fold joy to the residents. It was christened Cosmo Green Park.

A group of city women set out to act rather than just talk about the sacrifice of green cover at the altar of development. “The year-long mission of establishing a park came true with the inauguration of Cosmo Green Park,” says Anitha Rajarajan, founder and charter president of Soroptimist International (SI) Madurai. “This is the first park established by Soroptimist members in the world.”

The Cosmopolitan Club donated the land. Rukmani Palanivel Rajan and Anitha Rajarajan conducted a competition to get the best landscape plan for the park. In total, 12 teams comprising 10 to 15 members each participated in the competition. The design created by students of architecture of Thiagarajar College of Engineering was selected as the most suitable.

Children have a quarter of the park for their own play area. There is a walking track, granite benches, pergolas, plants and trees. The members plan to plant many saplings to enhance the greenery. They also plan to organize talks and seminars on nature and yoga sessions in the morning for the walkers. Cosmopolitan Club is entrusted with the maintenance and, if necessary, SI will chip in.

Corporation Commissioner R. Nanthagopal and Pat Black, SI president of Great Britain and Ireland, inaugurated the park.

Elephants garlanded and welcomed the chief guests to the venue. Around 15 SI members from Pune, Chennai and Bangalore attended the programme. “Though I have inaugurated many parks in the city, this park needs a special mention as it is an all-women venture done with social consciousness and it is not funded by the government,” said Commissioner Nanthagopal.

Pat Black praised SI members for making this milestone happen in their three years of service.

Soroptimist International is a global association of women who work for local improvements in environment and education. SI of Madurai was started in 2009.

It has sponsored the studies of 11 children up to the graduation level, adopted Kaliakappon village.