BENGALURU: The Cubbon Park Walkers Association held a protest on Sunday morning against the opening of the park for vehicles on weekends. Presently, the park is closed for vehicles every second Saturday, Sunday and on national holidays.
S Umesh Kumar, president of the association, says, “We want it closed on all weekends and government holidays.” Shabana Multani, a member of the association, says, “On weekends, traffic is less. So vehicles can manage with the alternative routes.”
Umesh says that the assocition has also received information about the nightlife events in the park planned by the tourism department. “They will have it twice a month on weekends up to 1 am. We are completely against it,” he says.
He claims about 2,000 people were present at the protest. They also raised the issues of encroachment, illegal constructions and safety. Umesh says, “There should be CCTV cameras and compound walls built in the park for the better safety. Women also need separate toilets.”
The protestors are also demanding that the number of marathons conducted in the park be reduced. Umesh says, “It becomes a disturbance for senior citizens and children when thousands of people are running for some commercial event. There are boards put up everywhere and bring in food trucks. People end up throwing a lot of plastic in the park.” Shabana adds, “Sometimes, I have seen two to three marathons being held in a day.”
Umesh claims that these demands have been already put forward to the Horticulture Department but little came of it. “They say they will act, but don’t, and refuse to give anything in writing. Also, they do not intimate the association about the activities or constructions in the park. They don’t share details about the cost of the activities or constructions. We would like to be informed about all the developments inside the park,” he says.
When City Express contacted Mahantesh Murgod, deputy director, horticulture department, he said he wasn’t even aware of the protest. He says that there is nothing illegal going on in the park. “CCTV cameras will be installed shortly. We are calling in tenders,” he says. “The marathons are held once a week or sometimes twice or thrice a month. For marathons, the organisers approach us and we give permissions. They are not allowed to get in food trucks and provide only water. Since there are many are taking place inside the park, we will be installing drinking water facilties.”