'Favourite' target of development projects

Construction of a parking lot at Lalbagh is not the only threat the botanical garden has been facing. Over the years, the massive park has been the target of so-called development and vested interests trying to exploit it.

A threat to the garden in the recent days came in the form of the Bangalore Development Authority’s (BDA) proposed signal-free corridor from Sirsi Circle to Agara.

The project alignment was all set to land at the east gate of Lalbagh opening into Kengal Hanumantaiah Road and the main gate opening into Lalbagh Main Road. However, with the efforts of Koramangala Infrastructure Task Force, environmentalists and judicial interventions, the project has been halted and put under review.

In 2011, the horticulture department came up with a proposal to develop a rock garden on the existing monolithic rock formation inside Lalbagh. There were also talks about construction of a musical fountain inside the park at an estimated cost of Rs 40 crore. Green warriors took serious exception to the proposal and said the project would harm the ecosystem of the botanical garden.

Finally, the State government decided to reconsider the proposal.

In 2009, environmentalists and civic society staged a series of protests when the State government issued an ordinance to acquire a portion of Lalbagh land adjoining RV Road for the Namma Metro rail project. Several greens, including Sunita Prabhu, daughter of M H Mari Gowda, the modern architect of Lalbagh, urged the government to save the garden land. However, around 19 trees, including 18 eucalyptus trees, were felled in the 135-square-metre space that has been acquired for the Namma Metro project and a station has already come up there.

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