Cubbon Park to be ‘redeveloped’ under Smart City Project

Rizwan Arshad, MLA, P.C. Mohan, MP, and M. Goutham Kumar, Mayor, listening to the citizens at the meeting on the development of Cubbon Park in Bengaluru on Sunday.

Rizwan Arshad, MLA, P.C. Mohan, MP, and M. Goutham Kumar, Mayor, listening to the citizens at the meeting on the development of Cubbon Park in Bengaluru on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

Citizens raise fears of further concretisation of the park; they also sough to know if ‘development’ would pose a threat to its natural heritage

One of the city’s prime lung spaces, Cubbon Park, does not enjoy some of the privileges that the other green space – Lalbagh – does. Now, the park is all set to be ‘redeveloped’ with ‘major design interventions’ under the smart cities project. Bengaluru Smart City Limited (BSCL) is expected to begin work within two months and the project is expected to cost ₹40 crore.

However, at a public consultation meeting on Sunday, citizens raised concerns of increasing concretisation of the park, heavy vehicular movement and the noise and air pollution that is choking the park. They also questioned if further ‘development’ would pose a threat to the natural heritage of the park.

Ananda Thirtha, a civic activist, asked why a park should be redeveloped under a smart city scheme. “I hope they do not turn it into a tech park kind of space,” he said.

Another participant, Bobby Kapoor, who has been coming to the park for decades, said, “Why should they fix something that is not broken? What they can do is plant more varieties of plants and reduce vehicular movement within the park.”

Addressing the participants, BSCL Managing Director Hephsiba R. Korlapati said the park would be developed in two phases at a cost of ₹20 crore each. “Sustainability, accessibility and inclusivity are our main goals. We will keep in mind these and redevelop the park without disturbing nature in any way,” she said.

Neelam Manjunath, Chairperson, Bamboo Society of India, Karnataka Chapter, said that a bamboo oxygen park will be developed inside the park, which will also act as an oxygen park. “Almost all structures, including toilets, security posts, and cafeterias, will be built using bamboo. There will be bio-fencing, which will stop dust and sound pollution,” she said.

She said that bamboo will be grown in the park. “Earlier, they grew bamboo because it released more oxygen. It also filtered water by removing toxicity in the water,” she said.

Speaking at the sidelines of the meeting, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar, said that an oversight committee will be set up for execution of the project. “The committee will have senior officials from all the government agencies concerned. We will also have people, domain experts and activists in the committee,” he said.

P.C. Mohan, Member of Parliament, Bengaluru Central, assured the participants that the project will be a ‘coordinated effort’. “I came here in the morning to talk to people, many of whom expressed a desire for an open gym and better playing amenities at Jawahar Bal Bhawan. I will talk to the authorities concerned so that even Bal Bhawan is bought under the smart cities project,” he said. All elected representatives and senior officials of various government departments assured the public that their inputs would be incorporated ‘as much as possible’. “We will ask everyone to send suggestions via email and earnestly go through them and incorporate the prudent ones,” said Mr. Anil Kumar.

Ban on parking

Increasing vehicular movement and parking inside Cubbon Park has been a complaint raised by regular walkers and citizens.

On the sidelines of Sunday’s meeting, BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar told The Hindu that banning parking from Hudson Circle to State Central Library is on the plate. “I will take up the issue with senior officials of the Horticulture Department,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 6:48:30 AM |

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