Cubbon Park May Charge Entry Free

Bangalore: You may have to pay to enter Cubbon Park in future. The government is planning to collect an entry fee to curb, what it calls, illicit activities in one of Bangalore's largest lung spaces at night and curtail unnecessary entry of people.

The state government is yet to decide on the amount of fee and the date from when it'll come into effect, horticulture minister Umesh Katti said on Saturday. "But it'll be implemented as soon as possible."

The minister issued a warning that trouble makers will be strictly dealt with. He also hinted at the plans to install CCTV. Regulars divided over Cubbon Park entry fee

Bangalore: While an entry fee could curb the menace of illegal activities and people littering Cubbon Park, it could also obstruct people from enjoying one of few large green spaces in the city at will. People who frequent the lung space like environmentalists, bird watchers, joggers and nature lovers have opposing views.

According to ornithologist M B Krishna, who visits Cubbon Park regularly, an entry fee is not going to make much of a difference. "It will just satisfy the vested interests of officials. Look at Lalbagh. There is an entry fee and the horticultural department earns so much from it, but what has changed inside the park? It doesn't even have a nice lawn. Where does the money go? I was instrumental in getting the fee imposed there as I showed them a survey about how many people entered the park every day." he says. "During the flower show, a lot of funds are generated, but I don't know how they are used. When I started bird watching a few years ago, there were 140 gardeners there, and now there are just 40 or so. I don't think a fee can change the management, but curbing traffic could help," he adds.

However, former environment secretary, A N Yellappa Reddy said a lot of things have changed after Lalbagh imposed an entry fee. "There is a lot of positive change in the management. They don't have to depend on government funds, they have their own infrastructure to systematically manage the park. It also helps curb illegal activities. But there should be some regulation for vehicles entering Cubbon Park. I don't know how they will do it because the Metro is also coming up around it. They can also develop a beautiful wetland in Cubbon Park's low-lying area,” he said.

The government is planning to collect entry fee in Cubbon Park, and it'll be implemented as soon as possible, horticulture minister Umesh Katti said on Saturday. The department wants to fence areas along the roads and close gates from 10 pm to 6 am.

The fee will be collected to curb, what Katti called, illicit activities at the park at night. "Around 10.30 pm on Friday, I was passing through Cubbon Park when I saw young couple standing there, forgetting the world around them. I stopped the car. I thought they would get scared and flee, but I was proved wrong."

The minister said some morning joggers and walkers were creating a nuisance by feeding stray dogs with meat. "They will be warned once, if they don't listen, a case will be registered against them with police," he said. There are plans to install CCTVs at the park, Lalbagh and Nandi hills, and deploy private security guards.