December 28, 2016
Thanjavur: Sivaganga Park, a recreational garden and popular tourist spot in the city, is now in a sorry state due to poor maintenance.
Created in 1871-72, Sivaganga Park has now turned into Lovers’ Park with the presence of boys and girls who visit in pairs, skipping school / college classes. Till a few years ago, the garden had a toy train and a mini zoo housing spotted deer, love birds, peacocks, jackals, pigeons, ducks and rabbits.
“The toy train, which was the main source of tourist attraction, has not been functional for the past one year due to poor maintenance. The mini zoo has now become a misnomer with only 32 deer, a dozen rabbits and two ducks,” rues A Mahamootha, a homemaker from Kumbakonam.
The water fountains in the park are now non-functional. Motor boating facility is the only consolation for visitors. The equipment in the Children’s Park is mostly broken.
The park draws a good number of visitors on weekends and other holidays. The Thanjavur Municipal Corporation, which maintains the park, gets a profit of Rs. 15 lakh per annum. “It earns a revenue of Rs. 40 lakh per annum while the expenditure is Rs. 25 lakh,” a senior official in the city corporation, on condition of anonymity, said.
As for the zoological park, the forest department is objecting to the presence of animals and birds in the park. S Gurusamy, District Forest Officer (DFO), clarified that the corporation had not yet submitted, as required, the master plan to the Central Zoo Authority seeking permission to maintain animals on the park premises. “Once the corporation submits the master plan, we will recommend giving permission,” he said.
In 2014, the then municipality sent a proposal to the government seeking funds of Rs. 5 crore for improvement of Sivaganga Park but no fund allocation was so far made and the proposal has been gathering dust in Chennai, the corporation official said.