Movement of vehicles inside Cubbon Park resumes from Monday
Vehicular movement will be allowed inside Cubbon Park from Monday, much to the dismay of citizen activists and regular walkers who have been pushing for a complete ban.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the city, entry of people and vehicular movement in all the parks in the city were prohibited. After the lockdown restrictions were lifted, people were allowed inside Cubbon Park and other parks as long as they wore masks and maintained social distance from one another. Vehicular movement was still not allowed.
On August 21, however, the Department of Horticulture issued a circular allowing movement of vehicles in Cubbon Park. Confirming this, Rajender Kataria, Secretary of the departments of Horticulture, Agriculture, and Sericulture, told The Hindu that the department had decided to allow vehicular movement inside the park following requests from the Bengaluru Traffic Police. “There is no order on banning traffic inside the park. We are only restoring what was being followed before COVID-19 restrictions,” he said.
Regular visitors to the park said there has been a noticeable improvement in the air quality since March 24 when vehicles were banned. Mr. Kataria, too, said Cubbon Park was thriving and that the air quality had also seen a marked improvement. “The department is in favour of completely restricting vehicular movement inside the park. A decision on the same is likely to be taken by this month-end and the proposal is before Horticulture Minister K.C. Narayana Gowda,” he said.
The traffic police, however, maintain that with no alternative roads, the department had recommended allowing vehicular movement inside the park again. Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Narayan said the traffic police had also urged the Horticulture Department to not allow parking inside the park.
The decision to allow vehicles inside the park again has not gone down well with citizens’ groups. Priya Chetty Rajagopal from Heritage Beku said though the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council had passed a resolution against vehicular traffic inside the park, the government had decided on the contrary.
“As part of #CubbonParkUlisi, we got opinions from 15 experts, including the Directorate of Urban Land Transport. All of them favoured a complete ban on vehicular movement inside the park,” she said and pointed out that traffic was banned inside Lalbagh nearly two decades ago. The move does not augur well for the park, she said and added that citizens would strongly oppose and protest it.