[ Tongam Rina ]
Amidst the maddening chaos of an unplanned town, green IG Park in Itanagar gives some amount of solace.
While the nights see a completely different scene with police having to patrol the place looking out for some people who do not necessarily conform to the expected Arunachal societal codes, come dawn, it’s a different place all together-full of life and activity.
The park is the only place where children can play without parents and teachers having to worry about perpetually angry drivers. It’s a place where young ones play football, health freaks, young and old alike go for walks, a place where young musicians busk, a place where one takes refuge when the dust and humdrum of daily life is too much to bear.
It’s also a place, where all official programmes are held, where the organizers leave a trail of dirt and plastics, which even the friendly green park, cannot swallow.
After the Statehood celebration, the slope near the main venue is filled with plastics and other dirt while the little stream running through the park continues to be choked and dying a painful slow death.
At the rate the town is expanding from all sides without any respect for nature and laid down rules, in years to come, IG Park is going to be the only safe and green spot where we can spend our leisurely time. But at the rate, its being planned and encroached, perhaps, the park will vanish in a few years.
The citizens started encroachment while the government silently watched. Next thing we know is government started encroaching by building office premises gloriously applying the dictum- if you can’t beat them, join them and make it worse.
Even the few green hectares left are being destroyed in the name of beautification. For the policy makers, beautification means concretising.
In February this year, government had announced that park will witness a massive facelift.
The government statement said that the department of state Environment and Forests, under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA) has chalked out a detailed proposal for landscaping and beautification of the park with all basic amenities.
As per the proposal, fund to the tune of Rs 6 crore from CAMPA was earmarked to upgrade the park.
In few hectares of land, there are hundred plans being made from separate paths for joggers and walkers, children’s park, fountains, sitting benches to modern footbridges.
As part of it, railings are being built by digging huge holes just next to the trees on the main park path. The foundations of the railings are concrete, leaving no scope for the roots to spread.
What they did not say was facelift means concretising. IG Park certainly needs no Rs 6 crore worth of botox. Just leave as it is. Spend the money cleaning up the park and making it greener. Rs 6 crore can be spent making another park and not concretising the existing one.