Cariappa Park in ruins; army blames civil agencies

Garbage strewn in the Cariappa Memorial Park premises on MG Road. DH Photo/S K Dinesh

The Cariappa Memorial Park, home to unique flora and fauna, is rotting amid the growing mounds of garbage due to lack of maintenance.

Dedicated to the memory of India’s first army Field Marshal K M Cariappa, the park has become a dumpyard for civic agencies, who the defence officials accuse of discarding plastic among other wastes. The army has been maintaining the park since its opening in 1996.

The plastic and alcohol bottles dumped in the park are noticeable to those walking the length of the MG Road metro boulevard. Sunitha Prasad, who lives nearby, observed the garbage strewn along the fence.

“It’s awful to see the garbage pile and the stink is obvious from a distance. It makes us uneasy to walk on the boulevard. This illegal dumping should be stopped,” said Annie, a regular on the boulevard.

Speaking to DH, a senior army official accused civil agencies of “misusing the area” by dumping waste.

Thick with indigenous tree and plant species, the Cariappa Memorial Park is off limits to residents who want to enjoy its natural beauty. The park was shut down in 1998, two years after its inauguration.

Besides a monolith statue of Field Marshal Cariappa, the park has a 1.8-km-long walkers’ track and a children’s play area. Given the facilities, citizens believe the park should not be allowed to waste away and the defence authorities must throw the gates open.  

When DH asked about the park’s maintenance and the idea of opening it to the public, the army refused to comment.

On February 27, 2015, a few citizens filed a PIL in the high court, seeking its orders to open up the park for morning walkers.

But the defence authorities filed an affidavit, saying the area has been earmarked for the training of army personnel and therefore, could not be opened to the public.

The court concurred and dismissed the petition.

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