‘Concrete’ plans strip parks of nature

The HMT Colony Park in Nacharam turns into a busy place in the mornings and evenings as visitors of all ages make use of the open-air gym on the premises.   | Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti

As the sun dips behind clouds in the evening, a raised platform in HMT Colony Park in Nacharam turns into a hive of activity. Women in burqas or saris, girls in denims, men in bermudas and young boys in tight tees begin exercising vigorously using the equipment on the platform.

Similar scenes play out every morning and evening at dozens of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) parks. The outdoor gyms have become spots for community well-being.

‘Success’ for GHMC

“The number of people visiting the eight parks where we have installed the exercise equipment is higher than other parks where the equipment is not installed. Our goal was to get people to these parks and we have succeeded,” says a GHMC official from the northern part of the city.

The raised platform is surrounded by extremely manicured frangipani, bamboo, bougainvillea and other ornamental plants. The frangipani tree can grow to 10 metres height but it is trimmed to a metre. The bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in nature but is stunted to just above a metre. A few tall trees at the periphery of the park have been allowed to grow naturally and have a few sunbirds and bulbuls flying between them.

Writer’s appeal

A few days ago, writer Sadhana Ramchander put out a blog about the changing nature of parks. “I would, nevertheless, request those people in charge to not ‘manicure’ them too much; to leave the wild plants and trees alone, and allow the shield bugs and grass hoppers, caterpillars and butterflies, lady birds and jewel beetles to thrive and multiply. Let the life cycles of these and many other creatures continue undisturbed. For in the well being of these tiny lives lies the betterment of humankind,” she wrote making a plea for rewilding and sparing the parks where the exercise equipment have not been installed.

“It is unfortunate. This concretisation and manicuring of natural spaces is not good for the city. Hyderabad is lucky to have so many wild spaces which is essential for well-being of nature. By destroying these pockets of nature, we are hurting ourselves,” says Kobita Das, a teacher and a nature lover.

As nature is forced to retreat in the small islands of green in the city, the urban conflict between man and nature becomes sharper.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 5:26:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/concrete-plans-strip-parks-of-nature/article33983349.ece

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