Mysuru: The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC), with the support of local residents, is renovating a neglected park with many constructions including an open air theatre and two spacious rooms, thereby redefining the very word park. The irony is, however, this park is being named after environmentalist and green crusader Salumarada Thimmakka.
Residents, however, are defending their move to construct structures amidst greenery and they say that the park is the only place in the locality where the young and the old can indulge in some leisure. “Though the Karnataka Parks, Play-fields and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Act prohibits any construction activities in the park, here we have a combination of greenery and concrete structures,” said residents.
Once the lawns are laid and Ayurveda saplings are planted, the park will get a facelift and the area will be beautified. This will be a befitting tribute to Salumarada Thimmakka, said the residents.
Salumarada Thimmakka is noted for planting and tending to 384 banyan trees on a 4-kilometre stretch of National Highway between Hulikal and Kudur. A US environmental organisation, based in Los Angeles and Oakland, California, called ‘Thimmakka’s Resources for Environmental Education’, is named after her. Thimmakka has planted thousands of trees and nurtured them for future generations and because of her selfless sacrifice, many of us are breathing some pure air.
The ‘Salumarada Thimmakka Park’ is coming up at Ward Number 15, Ramakrishnanagar G and H Block. The stress is on the beautification of this 200ftX250ft stretch of park, thus honouring the environmental legend. Over 50 Ashoka trees have been planted around the park and there are 40 Parijaata plants (Indian Coral Jasmine, a truly Indian origin tree in which the flowers are nocturnal). Different types of greens including honagone soppu are also grown here.
Open Air Theatre
An open air theatre is coming up inside the park and there are two spacious rooms on either sides of the theatre. A flagpole is located close to the rooms. Residents of the area celebrate national festivals like Independence Day and Republic Day by hoisting the National Tricolour. Even International Yoga Day and Environmental Day are celebrated here apart from organising competitions.
The MCC had called for tenders to beautify the park and the works are set to begin from April 1. However, when one sees the open air theatre that has come up inside the park, one wonders where the audience will sit as there is no facility created for the same. The next question that begs answer is, is it right to construct such open air theatres in parks?
The park was lying in a state of neglect six to seven years ago and the residents of Ramakrishnanagar G and F Block and Arogyanagar came together and through their Residents Welfare Associations (RWA) decided to develop the park.
The park had been earmarked in this MUDA layout that is more than 20 years old. Though MUDA had fenced the park with iron railings, the MCC had not developed it despite the layout being handed over to it. Following the City Corporation’s apathy towards the park, residents decided to take things in their own hands.
By contributing their time, energy and money, residents transformed the neglected park. Thanks to their efforts, the park is today becoming a better place for the residents and children to spend some quality time amidst greenery.
R. Nataraj, President, Residents Welfare Association, said that there are plans for an open-air gym for senior citizens and some more special playing equipment for children. Plans are also afoot to have an Ayurveda plants nursery. “We have also thought of Thimmakka’s picture adorning her name board and even the open air theatre will be named after her,” he said.
To protect the park from vandals, seven LED lights have been installed around the park. For people to sit and chat or to relax after a hectic physical activity, over 30 stone benches have been erected at a cost of Rs.8.5 lakh. There is playing equipment for children. “We are planning to develop it into a model park in the city,” said RWA President, retired bank manager M. Devaraj Kini.
“Many women residents of the area walk in the park and as such it is a matter of pride for us to develop the park, Shashi Kempegowda, President of Surabhi Mahila Samsthe.
“Residents of the area including women and children are using the park both in the morning and evening. If the park is further improved then not only will it benefit us but we can protect the environment ourselves,” said Sujata Nayak, Joint Secretary, Residents Welfare Association.