BANGALORE: Mathikere, once spread across 112 acres and catering to Yeshwanthpur, Mathikere and Jalahalli villages, would either have become a stinking water body or hotbed of encroachment had the residents not taken an initiative to preserve the space for public use.
Owing to their untiring efforts under the leadership of the then local corporator B.R. Nanjundappa, the tank has now become the third biggest park of the city after Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh. It is now a biodiversity hotspot spread across 84.5 acres.
The foundation stone for the Jai Prakash Narayan Park was laid by the former Chief Minister late Ramakrishna Hegde in 1987 and the park was thrown open to the public by H.D. Kumaraswamy during his stint as Chief Minister on March 19, 2005.
An initiative of the erstwhile Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the JP Park has over 8,000 varieties of trees and shrubs from across the State catering to the residents of North-West Bangalore.
Mr. Nanjundappa, who was also the Leader of the Opposition in the BMP Council, told The Hindu that the speciality of the park lies in the 25-acre water body and the 4.5 km joggers track.
Fruit-bearing tree saplings have been planted to attract birds, which is giving the desired results.
The water body had shrunken to just 12 acres and it was improved when the project was taken up.