The dark truth

The dark truth

Dim-lit parks

The dark truth

Bengaluru may have earned the sobriquet of the ‘Garden City’ but that doesn’t mean that its parks are verdant spaces that citizens cherish to visit.

While parks in posh areas like Sadashivanagar, JP Nagar, Koramangala and Jayanagar are maintained well, those in many other residential areas are poorly lit and are becoming a haven for illegal activities, thus posing a threat to the safety of visitors. Parks in eastern Bengaluru like Coles Park and Richard’s Park have tall street lights that are scattered across its space, leaving dimly lit stretches in between. Lights aren’t as bright as they should be as well. Madan, a regular with his family in Coles Park, says, “Lights inside the park are not maintained well. There are many dark stretches and we fear to go there, because there are people who choose to sit only in the dark and we might be stepping on snakes or garbage dumps.”

Some parks in HRBR Layout, 8th cross in Kalyan Nagar, have high mast lights but regulars say that they are dysfunctional and have never been repaired. Savitha and her son Advaith come to the park whenever they visit Savitha’s mother, who lives in the vicinity.

“I live in Basaveshwaranagar where public spaces such as parks and playgrounds are well maintained but HRBR Layout is a total contrast. This park is totally dark. I come here only because my son wants to play. I am always on guard for strangers and stray dogs. I can’t even walk around because there are no lights and we have to rely on the dim lighting from the adjacent streetlights to walk on the dark stretches inside the park,” Savitha rues.
While some parks in residential areas seem to have definite timings and round-the-clock security, others don’t have fixed timings or security guards in sight. The park in Byatarayanapura remains open throughout the day and at night time there seems to be no regulation on people entering and leaving it, observes ​Afeeda, a homemaker who lives in Byatarayanapura.

Afeeda wonders why most parks across the City, especially in residential areas, remain neglected. “Some of them look scary without lights and I stopped going to the park for a walk after 6 pm because without lights, it’s not at all safe for  girls and families. The dimly-lit areas may help couples who are looking for some privacy but others, like me, find it hard to spend time in these parks,” she says.

There are also a few parks in areas like Girinagar, in Banashankari, where only a portion of the park is lit.

Ananth Prakash, a resident of Girinagar, who jogs in a park located a kilometre from his house, says, “The park is open between 6 am and 9 am and 4 pm and 8 pm. However, there are no lights in the far corner of the park and this has been the state for the last six months. Nobody has bothered to repair them. The jogging track has a sharp curve towards the dark side of the park and I am always scared of losing my balance in the dark.”

He feels the authorities must pay more attention to the safety of regulars.

It’s not just the residential areas but large parts of Cubbon Park also remain dark. Commenting about regulation and security, a senior police officer with the Bengaluru City police says, “Yes, there are several stretches inside Cubbon Park where people can wander around. We have asked the Horticulture Department to install street lights within the premises of Cubbon Park.”

The official also points out that policemen have to go on foot patrol with torches. “We have installed nine CCTV cameras in several locations within Cubbon Park but we are unable to monitor these cameras as the images are not captured since it is dark,” he adds.

The official says that this is the same problem the police face in monitoring activities in dimly-lit parks located in residential areas as well.