Choking the lungs

With its unregulated growth continuing unrelentingly, pollution and lack of lung spaces in Bangalore are certain to become a major issue in the near future. The emissions from its two-million plus vehicles plying on its roads, the deafening decibel levels and uncleared garbage have ruined the ambient air quality in the metropolis. The carrying capacity of the City has been stretched far beyond acceptable levels with the serious shortages of water and electricity and choked roads. The mindless construction activity and the destruction of trees in the name of infrastructure development have increased the ambient temperature.

Kempe Gowda, the city’s founder, and the men who gave it its current shape later including Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, the British and the Indian administrators who followed them in the early decades of the last century ensured that the City was not only livable but also that it continued to retain its fame as Garden City or for that matter the air-conditioned city. Perhaps the pace of growth makes it inevitable that Bangalore slides down the quality of living index a couple of notches. But none expects active collusion of the administrators in ensuring that whatever lung spaces left in the City are converted into tacky, crass and cheap touristy hangouts. That precisely seems to be the objective of the state government’s horticulture department whose amazingly obtuse thinkers had to seek inspirational ideas from a resort in Singapore for their outlandish plans to improve upon the natural beauty of Lalbagh. The flashes of inspiration they received from Singapore’s playground include a rock garden, a laser show and a musical fountain. What is missing from the Sentosa menu? A monorail, a golf course, a skyride, a four-dimensional theatre, a sky tower and a cable car?

The Lalbagh and the Cubbon Park are among the precious legacies that the founders of Bangalore have left for the generations succeeding them. It is as if they anticipated that the City would grow beyond the towers of Kempe Gowda and would need parks for some fresh air. The Lalbagh, which hosts many rare species of flora and caters to the needs of thousands of citizens, needs to be left as it has been for the last two-and-half centuries. If the present lot in the horticulture department cannot lavish the loving care its forerunners did on the parks, the least it could do is leave the lung spaces alone.

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