Mangaluru: On March 28, 2016, there were headlines in the media about a young couple climbing the water tank located inside the premises of Tagore park aka “Bavatagudda”-Light House Hill Road in the City-they took this action because they wanted to see the sunset. We should not blame this young sweethearts, but fully blame the Mangaluru City Corporation, MUDA and other officials of the District Administration who were responsible to allow a mega apartment complex to come up right in front of the Park, thereby fully blocking the scenic view of the Coastal city and also the beautiful morning view of the Sunrise in the morning, and the Sunset in the evening.
Just like people climb trees, high buildings/walls, electric poles etc to catch a glimpse of the PM or CM when their motorcade pass through the city streets-the same way this young couple climbed the water tank to have a glimpse of the sunset. What other choice did they have, when a concrete structure was completely obstructing the scenic view? People noticing this couple climbing the water tank informed the cops, who immediately rushed to the spot, arrested the couple and released them after a warning. In this incident, one should also blame the caretaker of the park for keeping the entrance to water park unlocked. Youth are youth, they can do foolish and fun things at this age but it’s the duty of the adults to see that there are safety measures implemented at such sites.
View from Tagore Park in 2010
View from Tagore Park in 2016
It’s sad to note that Tagore Park on Light House Hill which was once a place for Mangalureans and out of town visitors who used to head for to soak in the panoramic view of the valley and the city, with the sea on the horizon- has now nothing to watch but to stare at a mega apartment structure that is coming up at a fast pace. Years back you could once see coconut orchards, sloping red-tiled roofs, and ships sailing in the distant Arabian Sea right from Tagore Park. But today, one could have only the glimpse of mega malls, mega apartment complexes, and the red bowels of the earth turned inside out dot the valley. At present, the ‘sea view’ has just become the name of an apartment. You visit the park now, sit on a bench or the lawn you could only watch the crane next door moving above your head, hear the loud noises of the construction machines, and labourers. That’ it other than that no scenic view, no view of sunrise or sunset.
Once the historic Tagore Park, that also houses the Light House, was a must-see spot for the public, giving an unhindered view of the Arabian Sea and southern side of the city. But at present that’s a thing of the past — a monstrosity that has come up effectively blocks this scenic view forever. History book reveals that this Park was built by erstwhile ruler of Mysuru, Hyder Ali. The park also has a deeper significance: It is said that when Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore visited Mangaluru in 1922, he had sat down at this place to rest and also appreciated the view of the sea. But the officials of MUDA/MCC didn’t consider all these facts of Tagore Park, they didn’t even bother about the citizens/visitors, instead out of greed went ahead and gave permission to a builder to go ahead with his mega apartments plan. How could our city officials do that is a question which will never be addressed. Even with protests and representation by various organizations/activists, no one has ever budged to any ones pleas.
Speaking to Mangalorean.com, Rohan, a student of nearby St Aloysius College said, ” Once a park which provided the picturesque scene of the city, also where one could watch the sunrise/sunset has nothing but a concrete building in front of it blocking everything. I think politics and money can do anything over laws and regulations. Too sad, too bad for an upcoming smart city like Mangaluru”. Sushma yet another SAC student said, ” Who so ever gave permission for the construction of this building, killing the scenic beauty of nature are simply nuts. Nothing less, nothing more”. A senior citizen from the nearby Lobo Prabhu Court, who spends his evenings at the park said,”This is the oldest park in the city, steeped in culture. Due to the city’s development, everything is lost and the building has ensured it is faster than anticipated. I miss the view.”
I guess it seems like there is no fun crying over spilled milk- the permission had been given by our city officials, the building is on the last stage of completion, there is nothing much one could do anymore. Maybe our officials are repenting about their mistakes or maybe not!I One of the board members of Mahatma Gandhi Peace Foundation, has said “No amount of pleading with the mayor and corporation authorities has helped. It’s akin to talking to a deaf person. We have spoken to various mayors during their terms, but all in vain”.