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Sayantan Ghosh, Intern
Believe and become!
The Park not taken
A forgotten park in central Kolkata is quietly made into a parking lot. Still , a large area is spared but who will restore it to its former glory?

Kolkata - In September 1987, Mamata Banerjee - then a firebrand young Congress leader – and her supporters had clashed with the police to protest against the Jyoti Basu government's decision to construct a cultural-cum-market complex at Rawdon Square. Nearly 50 persons, including then Union minister of state for commerce Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, were injured as police fired teargas shells to quell the protesters. Legend has it Mamata did manage to plant a tree at the venue, before the violence erupted.

Building materials strewn on the flanks
of the park - when will beauty be back?

Major concerns: The Park which was once considered scenic beauty in Kolkata, consisting a large waterbody in centre, was under threat to be converted into a parking lot, as directed by the Kolkata Police. The parking would have maximum capacity of 1000 cars. Thanks to protests from civil society the police has changed their mind and created a lot that can accommodate only 150 cars.

“The new parking lot is used for parking the cars of La Martinieres during school hours to avoid the jam caused at Minto Park and Beckbagan crossing,” said Arup Sanyal, a local of Rawdon Street. He added that the park consisted of a beautiful flower garden which has been recently demolished in order to expand the area.

Disturbingly, Sanyal continues saying that in the evening the vacant area turns into an antisocial den - being occupied by drug addicts and “ill-practitioners”.

With the flower garden gone, what is left of Rawdon Park minus the lot is a pitiful sight. The fast diminishing waterbody is certainly a reflection of how careless and neglectful the people of Calcutta has become... forgetting a virtual paradise near their homes. The best possible outcome for the environment would be the proper maintenance of the park. If the water body could be maintained by the PWD on a regular basis, the grass cut into manicured lawns and flowerbeds, Rawdon Park could easily regain its lost glory. People in the heart of the city could a blissful morning and afternoon walk – without a long walk!

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