Vanitha Vana turns out to be a nightmare

Lack of maintenance, absence of security a cause for concern

What aimed to be a women’s paradise has now turned out to be a creepy nightmare. Almost a year ago, the district administration and Mangalore City Corporation had made huge headlines for its concern for women, as they envisioned and implemented a unique concept, ‘Vanitha Vana,’ an exclusive park for women.

The park located at Hat Hill in Mangalore, aimed to be a special place for women, who seek time out from their daily chores and relax without being troubled by eve teasers. However, with lack of maintenance and absence of security, this park has become an abode for stray dogs and women rarely step in here.

A walk inside this park will prove the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities concerned. The cement pavement which was constructed to be a walking track is covered with leaves and garbage. Weeds have grown on the benches. The park lacks adequate lighting facilities. Absence of security personnel is a matter of concern, as this park is located in an isolated area.

Impractical park

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Community Worker Prabha Kudva says that the park lacks adequate planning. The park is located in a remote area and one has to walk up the hill to reach the park. This proves to be tiresome for people, especially senior citizens, she reveals.

The park overlooks a high rise building, hence the beautiful view of the city is obstructed, she says and adds that for her, the concept of an exclusive women’s park is funny. “Women usually visit parks with their families. However, this park is segregated only for women. Hence, the concept is not practical,” she points out.

Kudva further adds that when the authorities are concerned about women’s relaxation, they have to also be concerned about her safety and security. The lack of security personnel and poor maintenance paints a different picture, she opines.

Women Rights Activist Kripa Alva said that Mangalore needs Vanitha Vana and hence it has to be developed and maintained. “Vanitha Vana represents a woman. However, this park is neglected and reflects poorly to be called a women’s park,” she says and voices her concern about news that the park will be converted into an international swimming pool.

“There are plans to have an international standard swimming pool in Mangalore. However, the women’s park will be retained. There are plans to identify land near this park. The government is yet to take a decision,” says Assembly Deputy Speaker N Yogish Bhat.

Development plans

“Vanitha Vana will not be turned into a swimming pool. Around 69 cents of the land has been earmarked for the park and has been handed over to the MCC. The area will continue to be the women’s park,” assured Mangalore City Corporation Commissioner Dr Harish Kumar. He also said that the park will be fenced for security and to avoid encroachment.

A survey is being conducted and there are plans to spend Rs 20 lakh for the further development of the park. There are plans to have a short cut to this park through Bharath Mall, he said and assured to look into the maintenance of the park.
Broken promises?

It would be apt to point out that politicians and high rank officials had planned to start a library, PHC, radio tower and have speakers playing classical music in the park at the time of its inauguration on August 22, 2011. They had also promised to upgrade the basic facilities in the park. It seems that these promises were made to be broken!!!

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