What a coincidence, and an unpleasant one, too. Soon after I wrote that article on Tipu's gardens for Deccan Herald a few weeks ago, the Horticulture Dept announced a slew of proposals for one of his gardens - Lalbagh. And what ill-thought out proposals they are!! A musical fountain, and a laser show to name a few. Apparently, they were impressed by what they saw in Singapore's Sentosa Island and want to recreate that look here. As someone on Intach's Facebook page commented, we don't want the Sentosa look, we want the Lalbagh look! And quite apart from questions of water shortage and maintenance of extravagances like musical fountains, have they thought about the effect laser shows will have on Lalbagh's birdlife?
And of course, there is the question of history! For more than 250 years, people have tended to the garden, adding to its wealth of trees. In 1891, when Lalbagh's area was just about 100 acres, it had 3,222 species of plants. Today, its area has more that doubled to 240 acres, but the number of species has decreased to 1,854. Isn't it obvious then where all or at least a part of that Rs. 84 crores should go? Into planting more trees, methinks.
More on Lalbagh in this article I wrote for Deccan Herald.