'These heritage buildings are the park's identity'

'These heritage buildings are the park's identity'

'These heritage buildings are the park's identity'

Bengalureans across the City associate Cubbon Park with the heritage buildings it is dotted with- the seat of justice that is the High Court, the Press Club and the cultural spaces such as the Band Stand, Bal Bhavan, Aquarium, the Central library and the museums. But now, many of these very buildings that are an integral part of the park, are cut out due to the recent Cabinet decision to redraw the park’s boundaries.

Suresh Jayaram, artist and owner of the art studio No 1 Shanthi Road, says that it is useless to think about separating these heritage buildings from the park. “The space was designed to be what it is. From the Vidhana Soudha at its literal high seat of power, one can draw an axis through the High Court, the Band Stand and to the Central Library. The park was envisioned around these politically and culturally significant spaces,” he explains.

If necessary, the only change that would complement the space is if the thoroughfare of vehicles is stopped from cutting right through the park, he feels.

“The park is a sheltering space to many. People who stage protests at Vidhana Soudha, outstation litigants attending proceedings at the High Court and Library visitors. There are good public bathrooms here for those who are unable to afford hotels,” says Ms Prabhakar, a regular walker at the park since six years. Separating the building from it will take away that ease of access, she adds.

The Horticulture department has not taken up major renovation or restoration works of the many heritage buildings inside the park. For the Public Works Department (PWD) to start work,  the buildings should be out of the former department’s ambit. Hence, the decision to redraw the boundaries.

Some say that in the race to modernise heritage symbols, many buildings are losing its archaic, original appeal just like in the park. Aparna, a designer and a regular walker at the park says: “The whole world is trying to retain and restore what is old. But here we are caught up in a race to modernise.” Many feel that separating the buildings from the park will steal its charm and reduce it to something less culturally and socially accessible.

Meanwhile, many opine that a mere act of transfering governance from one government department to the other is not a solution for better management. Why cannot we retain things as they are and make the Horticulture department take more responsibility and accountability?

Byatha N Jagadeesh, a lawyer, strongly feels that the area in and around Cubbon Park is flora-rich and hence it is only apt for the Horticulture department to manage the area. “ I feel that the Horticulture department should run the show as it is they who are well aware of the park and its problems,” he says.

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