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Good decision on BBMP park timings

Good decision on BBMP park timings

Extended hours in 1,200 parks signal inclusivity.

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Last Updated : 16 June 2024, 18:55 IST
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Parks under the jurisdiction of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), which for some reason had remained closed for most parts of the day, are now open from 5 am to 10 pm. Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, who also holds the Bengaluru development portfolio, has announced that the new timings apply to 1,200 parks, excluding Cubbon Park, which falls under the horticulture department. Though this was a long-pending demand of the citizens, the move was opposed by some resident welfare associations (RWAs) which felt that the parks would be misused. Many RWAs locked up the parks themselves, claiming that students and those from the lower strata of the society cause public nuisance. While some of their concerns may be genuine, the entitled class had failed to see that parks are public places that belong to everybody irrespective of their social status. The government decision is welcome as it comes as a boon to vendors and gig workers who use the parks to get some quick rest, especially during the afternoon. Many RWAs may disapprove of this, but they should remember that public spaces should be inclusive and not exclusive.

At the same time, the government and the BBMP need to attend to the genuine concerns of citizens and ensure that parks do not become a haven for drug abusers, drunks and anti-social elements. Residents have often complained that such elements scale the fences late at night to misuse the premises. The BBMP should thus ensure that security guards are posted all 24 hours and not just when the parks are open. A majority of the parks are lacking even in basic amenities like toilets. This needs to be looked into as otherwise parks run the risk of being converted into open air toilets. Adequate lighting is also required to ensure the safety of citizens. Unless all safety and security measures are put in place, the government’s well-intentioned move may turn counter-productive.

However, it is imperative that people join hands with the civic authorities to address questions of conservation, maintenance and safety. Involvement of children in voluntary programmes will make them environmentally conscious at an early age. A bigger challenge than keeping the parks open through the day is ensuring their maintenance and safety. Parks can become public spaces in the true sense only if the BBMP and the public join hands and work unitedly towards their betterment.

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