Nageshwara Park will recover from once-in-a-lifetime event

A number of Mylapore residents and regular patrons are devastated by the havoc created by Cyclone Vardah to Nageshwara Rao Park. As someone connected with the park for many years now—as a lover of natural heritage, and not merely as part of my Corporate Social Responsibility – I can empathise with all those who are mourning the loss of several trees.
Nageshwara Park will recover from once-in-a-lifetime event
TT Srinivasaraghavan

Chennai

Right now, the priority is to get the park into shape as early as possible. A team of volunteers and workers have been on ground from day one and the last two days have seen some preliminary cleaning. The first target is to clean –up, especially since a number of people are wanting to come to the park. It is impossible to stop people from coming in to the park, therefore we have focused on clearing a route for them. Hopefully, the cleaning would be over by Monday.
The second step is to find out how many of the fallen trees can be salvaged, and replanted. Wherever possible, we will try and restore the trees. In case of trees which are gone for good, we need to look at planting new saplings. In the backdrop of certain trees being more susceptible to falling during the monsoon – and the once-in-a-lifetime event like the high velocity winds from Cyclone Vardah— we need to reassess what kind of trees to plant in our city, given its soil condition, proximity to coast and elevation. The need of the hour is for all those who are passionate about greening Chennai on a sustainable basis to come together. We need experts to advise us on what to plant in our public spaces. 
As with many areas of the city, the light fixtures have been damaged. Whatever was left untouched by Vardah has been pilfered by some vandals, who have used the opportunity to make away with light fittings that can be sold for a fast buck. These lamps need to be up and running. The children’s play area has also suffered damage, but it will be back in shape soon. 
As for Kutchery in the Park (held on the first Sunday of every month), that has been a feature of the park, it is a bit too early to say if it can happen in January. Like the rest of the city, here too everything is being done but how fast and how much clearing work can be accomplished depends on a number of things. 
Our Mylapore festival falls on January 5,6,7 and 8 which is less than three weeks away. We will do the best we can to ensure that the Mylapore Festival is not impeded in any way. However, the greater priority is to get everything in reasonable shape. 
The Chennai Corporation has always been very helpful but primarily, the upkeep is our responsibility. The Corporation has better machinery, equipment and manpower, which are being deployed all over the city. Chennaiites too have come together to make every aspect of the park a citizen’s cooperative. 
We will all bounce back from this and continue in our efforts to make our green lungs healthy and strong.
— The writer is MD, Sundaram Finance

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