Cubbon Park is set to get a facelift with a proposal to establish a Cubbon Park management authority to oversee the park development. However, it is likely to stir up a hornet’s nest with regular walkers opposing the move.
The authority, sources in the Horticulture Department said, is being set up to restore the heritage buildings in the park, including the band stand, and increasing the number of plant species in this essential lung space. There are plans to improve the aquarium, Bal Bhavan and rose garden.
“An open air auditorium has also been planned inside the park,” an official said, adding that expression of interest would be called at the global level to get the best plan for park development.
However, officials are not clear whether the authority will function under the Horticulture Department or the Tourism Department, as the creation of the authority has been announced under the tourism initiatives of the 2014–15 State Budget.
Meanwhile, Cubbon Park Walkers’ Association president Umesh said they would protest the move vehemently. “We are not opposed to the development, but creation of an authority would entail a separate secretariat and additional overheads. Instead, the park can be developed directly through the Horticulture Department,” he said.
He feared the authority would bring in commercialisation, imposition of fee and restricted entry. According to him, 192 acres remain of the original 240 acres in the park, and the priority should be to remove the encroachments.
Officially known as Sri Chamarajendra Park, the park was established in 1870 by John Meade, the then acting Commissioner of Mysore. It was called Meade’s Park in the initial years. The Horticulture Department website says that there are around 6,000 plants representing 96 species.