Parking lot: Lalbagh walkers launch signature campaign

Demanding that the authorities drop the project to construct a parking lot inside Lalbagh, members of the Lalbagh Walkers Association (LWA) have launched a signature campaign to protect the City’s significant lung space.

stiff opposition: Members of the Lalbagh Walkers’ Association protest against the  proposed construction of a new parking lot inside the garden on Wednesday. DH Photo

The parking lot, proposed to be built on a five-acre plot at the botanical garden’s South Gate, is supposedly to facilitate free movement of visitors to the biannual flower shows.

The Association members staged a demonstration at the Information Centre in Lalbagh on Wednesday morning, condemning moves to shrink the historic garden.

They said the horticulture department’s action would not only adversely affect the flora and fauna in Lalbagh, but also disturb the peace and tranquility of the garden. They feared that the project would lead to several other commercial activities benefiting vested interests.

The members expressed shock over the statements made by M K Shankarlinge Gowda, Principal Secretary, Horticulture Department, justifying the parking lot project citing other examples, even when a report from the committee is awaited.

In a memorandum to be submitted to the horticulture minister, they said: “The move is intriguing as it is intended to pre-empt the committee submitting the report in an objective manner.

The compulsion to defend the parking lot project is not in the public interest. Already, a portion of Lalbagh has been lost to the Metro line. Further appropriation or acquisition of Lalbagh land for any other purpose cannot be allowed.”

The government and the authorities concerned, they said, should have taken steps to enrich Lalbagh with numerous native and exotic flora by way of acclimatisation and multiplication of plants and further extending the garden.

“Instead, they are indulging in deplorable acts aimed at shrinking the lung space, as in the present case. As admitted, parking space is available at the Shanthinagar Bus Stand, Hopcoms Yard and Double Road Gate to accommodate 500 vehicles,” they said.

The proposed parking lot is in violation of the provisions of the Karnataka Parks, Playfields and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Act, 1985, the LWA contended.
The public can cope with the situation, rather than losing any part of the landmark garden, they said in the memorandum, seeking the intervention of the minister.

Sadashiva Reddy, president, LWA, told Deccan Herald that 80 members had signed the document and the campaign would continue for the next few days.

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