Walkers, joggers and the public frequenting the Lalbagh Botanical Garden in the morning are increasingly greeted by piling garbage, scarce toilets, poor walking tracks, illegal vendors and stray dogs. Taking part in large numbers, they aired their ordeals at the ‘Janaspandana-Citizens for Change’, a civic grievance redressal programme organised by Deccan Herald and Prajavani at Lalbagh on Sunday.
Focused on the theme — Lalbagh-How to make it a walker’s paradise? — Janaspandana had discussions on the problems, and the solutions offered by the horticulture department officials.
M Jagadish, department’s joint director for horticulture and parks, Lalbagh, and Chandrashekhar M R, deputy director, Lalbagh, listened to the walkers and assured all possible solutions from their end. Early morning walkers at the 240-acre lung space, especially the seniors, lamented that the sprawling garden has inadequate toilet facilities.
“It’s a known fact that senior citizens are suffering from diabetes and need to visit toilets frequently,” said Kumar Rao, a resident of JP Nagar, adding that toilets in the garden open at 6 am while elders arrive at 5 am. Seetharam, another resident, suggested deploying e-toilets, a userfriendly and easy-to-maintain sanitation model. Joggers asked about medical facilities in the park, to which Jagadish said ambulances are available.
“Emergencies like snake bites and honeybee stings are also treated in the medical room here,” he added. Jayanagar resident Shivalinge Gowda said several hawkers and vendors are allowed into the park during Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations. “After the event, walkers can’t use the premises, thanks to the trash strewn around,” he said.
Chandrashekhar acknowledged the concern, saying the authorities only allow those selling fruits and vegetables inside the park premises. “Even those selling corn are not allowed inside as the smoke emanating while roasting the corn disturbs the honeybees, which in turn attack the walkers,” he said. Despite the walkers’ complaints about the garbage menace, especially by food vendors, horticulture department authorities said the plastic ban has helped bring down the amount of solid waste. “About four tractor loads of plastic waste was generated six months ago.
This has been reduced to half a tractor,” said Chandrashekhar. Answering the garbage issue, Jagadish said the department is using two auto tippers and 30 members of the team to clear the waste in the garden. “We have also built tanks to compost dry leaves and from this, we are generating organic fertilisers. The department sells around 350 tonnes of organic fertiliser annually,” he added. Responding to the complaints about poor walking tracks and roads, Chandrashekhar said the BBMP will give Rs 5 crore to develop the roads inside the park area.