In the previous three write-ups importance of Cheluvamba Park to the health conscious people of Mysuru has been adequately elaborated. This write up will uncover the economics and lack of aesthetics in the development of Cheluvamba Park. During 2013-14, an estimated Rs 36 lakh was spent on its development. It is said that there is an AMC costing about Rs 6 lakh per year. As can be seen this amount for a medium sized Cheluvamba Park the amount is not small. However, just a couple of days ago one visitor to the park has lamented in a letter to editor of an English evening news paper that the outer walk way of the needs immediate re-doing as its eroded surface is causing problems to the walkers. The matter is not confined merely to the walk way surface.
The so called this “development” did not improve the Shiva statue water fall and the pool below. It did not add adequate number of stone benches and some old stone benches which had lost their top stones were not replaced. Heritage wooden framed creeper cum green house is totally crumpling but not repaired. No improvements were made to the Children section. Broken stone pillars of the iron fencing around the park are not repaired. Whereas newly laid grass in the central area of the park is already totally dry. No new trees have been planted and the flowering and fancy plants are dying or drying out. Since most the walkers are old and stay in the park for more than an hour, especially during mornings, need the toilet facilities very badly. But the toilets are most of the time out of bounds as are locked, due to public outrage when they are open they are very dirty and not usable due to lack of water under and maintenance. Obviously, from the foregoing list of lacunae it looks like no substantial modernization was carried out by the “development” undertaken during 2013-14. Then what was Rs.36 lakhs spent on?
Walkers themselves had created an outer ring walk way within the park by constant usage. This has been “developed” by laying 10 inch high and 18 inches long curb stones all around this ring. The inner walk way alignment has been changed and these very curb stones are used on their sides. Each such curb stone is said to have cost Rs.300 plus. These curb stones are not fit be used even for footpaths, as the height of footpath should not be higher than 6 inches. Then are they fit for being used in a park, where elderly and the children move around? Earlier very elegant and with roundish topped fire baked mud linings were being used in such embankments of parks. They were safe and added to the beauty of the park.
Then, new layers of red earth has been put, which is justifiable. But laying Mexican grass, which is delicate by nature and needs huge quantity of water at great cost is typical of MCC “development style”. Members of Mysore Grahakara Parishat [MGP], who are regular users of this park, who had vehemently opposed this move and had suggested that instead local variety of garike grass, which was robust in nature requiring very little watering would be more suitable. Underground ground water pipelines with a few sprinklers to water the grass might have cost some money. But neither was water supply ensured by bore wells nor by good water storage tanks. By December 2016 bore wells have started failing. No surprise that the grass is dry in January 2017 itself . And coming summer months, the entire investment on Mexican grass will surely go down the drain due to severe water shortage.
MCC development project included fancy and very expensive polished stone benches with high stone back rests. It also included extending the nursery area towards Aakashvani Circle entry and closing this gate. These hare-brained development plans were cancelled mainly due to the MGP’s strong protest and threat of public movement to save this park.
In the year 2016 MCC has further “developed” this park by installing solar panels for lighting. As predicted by MGP, now it is learnt that solar power is not working efficiently and lack of water supply in the toilets is one outcome of this inefficiency!
The spending of lakhs of rupees of public money by MCC in the name of development has in reality made very little improvement to the park’s utility to the users. The motto of MCC development seems to be large spending for little real gain. In the MCC parlance “Development” is only to mean splurging public funds. And reasons are well known to the public.
Cheluvamba Park “development” saga is yet another proof of great fall in the ethical values of our engineers and political masters.
- R Chandra Prakash