BENGALURU: Two years on, regulars to Chikka Lalbagh Park on Tank Bund Road are still deprived of fresh air, thanks to construction work on Metro’s North-South Underground Corridor. Almost 40 per cent of the park is barricaded and a major portion of the lung space is out of bounds for the public. For the project, as many as 83 trees in the park, including 20 ornamental, had to be chopped.
Visitors are desperate for Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to complete its Phase-1 works at the earliest so that they can inhale fresh air again. They are being inconvenienced by the dust caused due to the work carried on in the cordoned area.
The Park (also called Thulasi Thota),located close to the Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna railway station, is a haven of green in Old Bengaluru, catering to the residents of Cottonpet, Balepet, Chickpet and Akkipet areas.
“From 400 walkers daily, the number has, however, dwindled to between 200 and 250 since the Metro works began,” says homemaker Sashi Rekha.
K S Acharya, a retired BEL employee, points out that two of the entries to the park have been sealed and it cannot be accessed from Tank Bund Road anymore.
D A Gowri Shankar, a retired government employee says his friend has stopped coming to the park due to the dust which aggravated his asthma.
MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao has been backing the public demand to restore the park. “Metro has assured the park will be improved and handed back soon,” he said.
“Over one-third of this 2.25-acre park went off limits for the public over two years ago to facilitate Metro’s underground line,” said a person associated with the Metro work.
It is in the barricaded portion that the Tunnel Boring Machine ‘Kaveri’ emerged in October last year, marking the completion of Phase-1 underground tunnelling work. Work on clearing the debris and filling up the pit have all been completed.
“A small portion of the park has been utilised to build a pedestrian subway that will take public from Tank Bund Road to the Kempe Gowda station,” said another official. “One side of the subway will also take residents from the older parts of the City directly to the station and back to the roads near their residences,” he added.
Barring the passage leading to the subway, the cordoned off park area will be handed back to the Horticulture wing of the BBMP.
The temporary inconvenience though is inescapable.
According to a source, BBMP had asked for over Rs 5 crore to restore the park. BMRCL felt it was a very high figure. A top Horticulture official said, “The park will be improved with the joint funding of BBMP and BMRCL.”