By Swatee Jog
Many people in Belgaum love to complain about its lack of basic infrastructure like public transport, potable water, traffic congestion at railway gates, etc. They also whine about the increasing pollution and noise levels. But come to think of it…is it worse than other cities in India? Ask those who’ve lived in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad or Chennai and you are bound to get a “How lucky you are” as an answer. I recently met a few friends who have settled in these cities and their first comment was that Belgaum has still retained its old world charm. They especially love the cool climate. This year too, the summer in Belgaum was bearable because the mornings and evenings are super cool! Add to it the still visible green patches in Belgaum and you have a good reason to be proud of your city! Travel through Belgaum and you are bound to see lush greenery in various areas. I agree Belgaum has seen a spurt of construction in the past few years,
especially areas like Bhagyanagar, Vijaynagar, Khasbag, have saturated with burgeoning concrete blocks. But look around; there are numerous oases that make up for this concretization. I especially adore the greenery at Military Mahadev. It can be termed as the lungs of the city, something that Central Park serves for New York (OK, it’s much bigger, but then that city too is bigger than Belgaum). A panoramic view from the over-bridge soothes your eyes. Have you noticed the breeze from the small green island at Goaves? Opposite the swimming pool and amidst temples of various deities and cramped with a rickshaw stand, are numerous tall green trees, making it look like a green island. Tilakwadi, Vadgaon, some parts of Angol, the area around Hanuman Nagar, Khasbag, all boast of a tree or two in every courtyard. Have a look at Belgaum through Google maps and you’ll notice the different hues of green dotting Belgaum’s landscape.
The Cantonment has played a major role in retaining the green-ness of Belgaum’s topography. Since no new buildings are allowed in that area, it has managed to save its trees. Huge gulmohars , peepals, mango and coconut, eucalyptus trees dot the roads and sprawling compounds of private homes. Had the road-widening spree not been undertaken, Belgaum would have been richer by a few hundred more trees. But these are the compulsions of a growing metro. Nonetheless, it should be the first concern of elected representatives to compensate for the loss of trees felled during such activities. Many more green islands on the lines of Military Mahadev and Goaves should be demarcated within the city. The parks in Belgaum like Shivaji Garden, Nath Pai Udyan (Deshmukh Road), Babasaheb Ambedkar Garden(near Channamma circle), Animals park (Budhwar Peth) also boast of old trees whose canopy serves as shelter for animals, birds and humans alike! Instead of watching
the Greenathon on NDTV , we could also do our bit for our city by planting and nurturing trees wherever we can.
By Swatee Jog