Lalbagh authorities fail to walk the talk on upkeep of garden

Repeated complaints by walkers about lack of maintenance in Lalbagh have fallen on deaf ears. File Photo

But authorities in the Horticulture Department do not seem to be too bothered about the upkeep of the only sprawling lung space in the City.

Despite several complaints by walkers about bad infrastructure and non-maintenance inside the botanical garden, the authorities are yet to upgrade the facilities. A few months ago, the Lalbagh Walkers' Association had complained about the poor condition of the walking tracks, absence of toilets and drinking water facility.  Although, a few toilets were built and drinking water facility was provided, the maintenance of the garden still remains far off the mark.

Honorary President of the Lalbagh Walkers' Association, Prof M R Doreswamy, says that the Lalbagh authorities are incompetent to maintain the garden. “The problem begins at the helm of affairs itself. The person in charge of the administration of the garden is not from a horticulture background,” he said.

Prof Doreswamy said that he visits Lalbagh everyday for his morning walk.  The lotus pond, which is one of the main attractions in the garden, is in a pathetic state.

Weeds have grown everywhere and have not been pruned for a long time. The walking track cannot be used when it rains, he said. “There is a need for shelters to be constructed close to the walking track to help walkers when it rains,” Doreswamy added.

Though there is a ban on fishing and consumption of eatables and alcohol inside the garden, visitors do not seem to take the prohibition seriously. One can still find people smoking and carrying plastic inside the garden. In fact, miscreants do fishing in the lake inside Lalbagh and sell the fish outside.  “Despite putting up boards everywhere, visitors break the rules. It is difficult to monitor all visitors as Lalbagh is spread over a vast area.

We have only 20 security guards during the day and 12 in the night," said H M Krishnappa, Deputy Director of Horticulture. 

Horticulture Director, N Jayaram, said that there were plans to tile the walking tracks and construct shelters there. "We will soon implement the plastic ban strictly.  I am aware that the ban on smoking is not being monitored properly. It takes time to implement any rule effectively," he said.

The Horticulture Department is planning to grow 134 species of plants like Cyprus, Gardenia, Plumenia, Fucus Starlight, Syzygium Cumini, Bauhinia, Calophyllum Inophyllum, Murraya Exotica (China Box) and Pinus, which have never been planted in Lalbagh before. Shade Garden, Sunken Garden, Japanese Garden and Bonsai Garden will also come up at Lalbagh, said Jayaram.

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