Wading through traffic inside Lalbagh

Walkers' safety endangered by unauthorised entry of two-wheelers

Wading through traffic inside Lalbagh

For Bengalureans in the vicinity of Lalbagh, the botanical gardens was always an oasis of calm, a picture-perfect morning walk destination. But that extended honeymoon with fresh air has abruptly ended. Reason: The West Gate is now left wide open during the walk hours, triggering a rush of unauthorised motorists into nature’s territory! Suddenly, the walkers find themselves wading through dangerous traffic!

Their safety jeopardised, the walkers -- young and old -- are clearly an agitated lot. They are in no mood to let the City’s best loved lung space be invaded so wantonly. They shake their heads in disbelief that many of those motorcyclists are Lalbagh staffers themselves. The bikes are taken right to their work places deep inside the park, nowhere near the designated parking space.

Hassled by the vehicular influx, a senior citizen complained that the walking path had become a daily thoroughfare between 8 am and 9 am. “Two-wheelers enter and exit through the West Gate. While many are staffers, there are also other motorcyclists who cut across to K H Road right through the walking lanes,” the daily visitor explained in helpless frustration.

That anger was shared by Parashiva Murthy T N, a Madivala resident who rarely missed his walking schedule in the park for the last 20 years. “We keep asking the riders not to come inside. But they claim they are heading to their Lalbagh office and speed away. I come here daily to escape the City traffic and take a good walk, not to encounter these riders,” said Murthy.

Yet, the staffers had their excuses. Argued one of them, preferring anonymity, “We take rounds to chase away stray dogs and attend to complaints here and there.”

But a walker, Chethan G R, was quick to challenge that, contending that dogs and staffer bikes had no connection. For proof, he drew attention to a passing motorcyclist that took a side road through the garden path.

Until two months ago, the West Gate had chain barricades that allowed only walkers to cross over. The barricade removal, ostensibly to ease passage of the elderly, ended up helping staffers and vendors who had their outlets near Lalbagh’s K H Road entrance.

Recalled Ravi, a Banashankari resident, “A few days ago when a car came into the park, I asked a security guard about it. He told me that it was a contractor’s and he had the permission.”

Lalbagh Walkers Association president, Prof Sadashiv Reddy said the matter of vehicular entry will be taken up with the authorities at the next meeting. “We will sort this out in the next few days,” he said. Senior citizen M M Prasad wanted that to be a priority. To justify that urgency, he had a reason: “Parents come here with little children and let them play freely. Vehicles coming in unexpectedly could cause accidents.”

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