Long wait for ‘mini-Lalbagh’ makes Mahadevapura residents restless

The farm at Kannamangala where mini-Lalbagh is being developed.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Echoing the growing emphasis on the need to conserve lung spaces, residents of one of the busiest parts of Bengaluru have started petitioning for a green haven. Whitefield residents have urged the government to expedite the ‘mini-Lalbagh’ project at Kannamangala to make up for the lack of green spaces in the tech hub.

According to Horticulture Department officials, in 2011, five botanical gardens were proposed across the State, of which one was the mini-Lalbagh, which is yet to be realised.

In an online petition addressed to the Chief Minister, the Horticulture Minister and Mahadevapura MLA and Forest Minister Aravind Limbavali, signatories said the mini-Lalbagh project in Kadugodi–Whitefield area had been pending for several years for want of ₹2 crore. “Don’t you think this amount is quite small considering the ecological impact and environmental benefits this project can provide to the city and people living in the neighbourhood. With recent announcements from the Chief Minister about development of environmental spaces at Kadugodi, there is a hope that we may finally see light to this long- pending project,” stated the petition.

Amit Sharma, an IT professional and resident of Kadugodi who started the petition, said it had attracted over 5,000 signatures. “The project has been pending for a decade. If funds are an issue, we are ready to crowd-fund the project. Despite being among the biggest tax contributors, residents of Mahadevapura have to make weekly trips to Lalbagh or Cubbon Park for some fresh air. Usually in a city, the biggest hurdle for such a project is land. Here the land is already there. Why is the project still hanging?” he asked.

Members of the residents’ group, Whitefield Rising, said that more lung spaces were needed. “We hope more green spaces can be identified and developed in Mahadevapura and Whitefield,” they said.

‘Not a normal park’

However, Horticulture Department officials said the Kannamangala project is one of five botanical gardens announced in 2011 for the State, and it was being implemented in a phased manner. “It will take time as it is not a normal park. There is a committee in place headed by [environmentalist] A.N. Yellappa Reddy. Botanical gardens need a lot of time — around 15 years to take shape. The Kannamangala one is coming up on 70 acres, where we have already set up a compound, irrigation system, and planting. It is primarily an elite seed coconut farm which was in a dilapidated condition. Now the main purpose of rejuvenating the farm has been served. Next, we will have to see what can be planted under the coconut trees,” said M. Jagadeesh, Joint Director of Horticulture.

Adding that the project would be implemented “in the near future”, he pointed out that the others announced too were taking shape at the same pace, and the ones that were spread over large area would need longer than those on smaller stretches. “Even Lalbagh took three decades. Systematic planning is required for a scientific garden,” he added. Asked about the residents’ crowd-funding proposal, he said it would have to be taken up at the government level.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 6:04:40 AM |

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