Bangalore: The elevation of Justice Vikramjit Sen to the Supreme Court earlier this year has robbed the city’s iconic Cubbon Park of one of its champions. Considered the largest lung space in the centre of Bangalore, the park was visited daily by the judge for his morning walk when he was chief justice of the High Court.
Alongside his daily constitutional, Justice Sen would keep tabs on the cleanliness of the surroundings and pull up horticulture officials whenever he found things slipping.
However, since his shift to New Delhi, the park has been getting dirtier by the day. All manner of waste like paper plates, plastic cups and food left-overs is dumped indiscriminately by vendors and customers, even along the jogging tracks. So much so, that even foreigners who visit the park have expressed their dismay over its degradation.
On several occasions, Justice Sen had pulled up horticulture officials over the mess. On one occasion, noticing some anti-social goings-on, he had directed DG&IGP Lalrokhuma Pachao to ensure the safety of joggers and walkers who visit the park. Subsequently, police personnel, both in uniform and civvies, were deployed around the park. Another time, on noticing garbage dumped alongside the compound walls behind Yavanika, RBI and the police headquarters, Justice Sen had instructed the officials to ensure cleanliness in the area.
The worst-affected areas seem to be the stretch located in front of the cricket stadium, popularly known as the Queen’s Park, and the stretch opposite Bal Bhavan. The stretch, with neatly laid out running tracks between manicured trees, is frequented every morning by hundreds of people from Shivajinagar, Vasanthnagar, Richmond Town and High Grounds. But with hardly any surveillance, it has become a dumping ground for kitchen waste and other garbage.
The park’s Raj attractions too have not been spared, with the pedestal of the King Edward VII statue surrounded by kitchen waste from nearby eateries.
“Dumping of waste has become a regular phenomenon, especially when events involving thousands of people are organised close to the park. What is equally worrying, and hazardous to walkers, is the gardeners setting fire to garbage heaps,” said Aravind Kulkarni, a morning jogger.
Justice Saldanha’s struggle
Another judge, Justice (retd) Saldanha, had taken up the cudgels for the maintenance of the park and the safety of its visitors. He had also pulled up the officials for the degradation of the pond opposite Bal Bhavan. With motorists using Cubbon Park as a thoroughfare, several accidents involving walkers used to take place. Justice Saldanha had seen to it that the park gates were closed between 10 pm and 6 am – but the night-time rule seems to observed more in the breach nowadays.