No free entry to kids' park in Jayanagar

No free entry to kids' park in Jayanagar

Children play in the Nandanavana Park in Jayanagar 4th ‘T’Block. DH PHOTO/SRIKANTA SHARMA R

The BBMP seems to be paving the way for privatisation of parks in the city by charging an entry fee. 

Each visitor to the Nandanavana Children's Park in Jayanagar 4th 'T' Block in southern Bengaluru has to pay Rs 5. The park has play equipment and is open only in the evening. The BBMP recently invited tenders for "running, supervision, operation and maintenance" of the park. But the entry fee is nothing new and has been collected for about four years now, said former corporator C K Ramamurthy. 

"The entry fee is nominal and does not burden people," he said. "The park was designed along the lines of the Hong Kong Disneyland. Sometimes, songs are played here for birthdays and the equipment is painted every six months." 

Curiously, there is no fee to visit several large parks that incur high maintenances costs. JP Park in Mathikere, MN Krishna Rao Park in Basavanagudi and Freedom Park on Seshadri Road incur huge maintenance costs. Freedom Park alone runs up an annual bill of Rs 1 crore. 

A senior BBMP official had this to say when asked about the need to charge people for visiting public places: "I don't think it's right to compare a children's park with other parks such as Krishna Rao Park. The requirement and maintenance work are different here (in the Nandanavana Park). The expenditure is more because we have to remove fallen leaves and beautify the place. The Nandanavana park is a high-tech one and the focus is on maintaining the play equipment." 

Gangadhar Swamy S, a deputy director in the BBMP's Horticulture Department, said maintenance costs in the Nandanavana Park were high because security guards work three shifts. "We need round-the-clock security in this huge park," he said. 

Bahubali Raju, of Jayanagar 5th block Resident Welfare Association, said the entry fee was not an issue as it was nominal. "They need money for maintenance. It's not wrong to charge visitors," he said.