Walkers, activists oppose private projects in Cubbon Park

A unicorn statue and a fitness training pathway are planned

July 02, 2022 08:44 pm | Updated 08:44 pm IST - Bengaluru

Environment activists are calling for proper public consultations as per norms, regarding private initiatives in Cubbon Park.

Environment activists are calling for proper public consultations as per norms, regarding private initiatives in Cubbon Park. | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

Fintech unicorn RazorPay wants to install a statue of a “unicorn with wings/flying horse” in Cubbon Park, while the Consulate General of Switzerland wants to introduce “Barn Parcours”, a fitness training loop pathway. Walkers as well as environmental and heritage activists have opposed them.

The Department of Horticulture, and the Department of Electronics, Information Technology and Biotechnology jointly held a public consultation meeting on the unicorn with wings statue project on Saturday. A similar meeting will be held on Sunday morning over the Swiss consulate project, which is also called “Bengaluru Moves”. “There is widespread opposition to any private initiatives and interventions in Cubbon Park. We do not want any such corporate initiatives in the park area,” said S. Umesh, president, Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association.

While there is widespread opposition to the statue coming up, many are open to the Bengaluru Moves project, which will only add a fitness trail infrastructure to the park, sources said.

Leo Saldanha from the Environment Support Group, said the government cannot treat public spaces are their private property and put up anything they want by private firms there. “There has to be proper public consultations as per norms,” he said, adding he was opposed to any initiative by private firms in public spaces.

Concerns have been raised by heritage activists as well. “The Cubbon Park community has already been suffering from the Smart City Project and this is a wrong time to make any such interventions. Moreover, we need to ensure the spatial and visual heritage of Cubbon Park. The idea of the park should mainly be organic and not be made cumbersome,” said Priya Chetty Rajagopal, from Heritage Beku group and a walker in Cubbon Park.

Rajendra Kumar Kataria, Principal Secretary, Horticulture Department, said they had heard the views of the people and based on their inputs a suitable call would be soon taken.

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