Thiruvananthapuram: The park at the State Central Library, Thiruvananthapuram is out of bounds to public during daytime. Reason cited for the month-old decision - the park has turned a favorite haunt of lovebirds. Though aimed at keeping college-bunking couples away, the decision applies to general public too. On the receiving end are college students who find the quiet park with lots of shady trees and benches an ideal place for studying, copying notes and sharing study materials.
The park, which used to be open during usual working hours, now stays under lock and key till 3.30 pm. CC TV cameras were installed in the park when authorities got wind of couples flocking to the park in the daytime. But the decision to lock it up followed soon.
Those who criticize the decision point out that the park and its surroundings are usually chock-a-block with students and the public vying for elbow space. This in itself will deter inappropriate actions from the part of visitors, they say, adding that there are security guards too on the campus.
The security guards insist that families shy away from coming to the park since many couples cross the limits of acceptable behavior in a public space. ‘Does that mean we cannot have parks at all in Kerala,’ retort the protesters, tongue-in-cheek.
Students who depended on the park are left with no choice but to plop down on the floors of verandas to do their writing and reading. Some of them resort to buying tea multiple times from the canteen thus ensuring a seat in front of it.
Regulars at the park are outraged that the authorities turned to bigotry rather than come up with practical solutions. Protest against the action is gaining momentum.
There are more vehicles than people on the Central Library premises at any given time. While it is gratifying to believe that reading habit is picking up like never before in the capital, a random check will tell you this is not the case. The large compound has become a convenient parking lot for city-goers.
The area around Palayam is short of parking space which explains the rush of vehicles in the Library campus. The space gets filled by around 11 am and the vehicles stay on the campus almost the entire day. Considering the space crunch for students and library members, there is a rising demand to control parking on the campus. The space instead can be used to provide more seating on the campus of the library which holds the distinction of being the first public library in the country.