| Time for togetherness |
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 12: Lovebirds in the city can heave a sigh of relief on Valentine’s Day as the city police have planned to keep vigil on popular hangout places to keep troublemakers at bay.
A senior police officer said security in and around parks, colleges and popular hangout places in the city would be intensified keeping in mind the threat from some right-wing extremists who try to act moral police on February 14 every year.
However, lovebirds are still worried about being stalked by the fundamentalists who frown upon love. Some right-wing activists have threatened to marry off boys and girls found cozying up in public places, particularly parks. “Our activists will move around parks with flower garlands in their hands and whenever we find these couples, we will force them to marry on the spot. The celebration of Valentine’s Day is not our culture. Rather, it ruins our culture and increases crimes against women,” said an activist.
Deputy commissioner of police Nitinjeet Singh said police teams would patrol all the parks and colleges of the city on that day.
“Policemen in plain clothes will be deployed at all the hangout places so that no one can create any trouble. Besides, our regular patrolling vehicles will frequent parks and colleges to thwart the fundamentalists in carrying out their threats,” said Singh.
However, young couples are unhappy with the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), which maintains most of the major parks in the city, for keeping all these hangout places closed during 9am and 4pm on all working days.
BDA officials cite maintenance as the reason behind the closure of the parks in the city in daytime.
In the city, young couples come to parks such as Indira Gandhi Park at Unit-I, Biju Pattnaik Park at Unit-VI, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Park at Vanivihar, Mahatma Gandhi Park at Jayadev Vihar, Buddha park at Niladri Vihar, Madhusudan park at Pokhariput, BDA City Centre at Unit-IV, Regional Plant Research Centre Garden at Nayapalli, Jayadev Vatika at Khandagiri and Nandankanan to spend time together. Only the last five hangout places, which also have ticketed entry, remain open throughout the daytime.
Almost all the 60 big and small parks maintained by the BDA have their gates shut from 9am to 4pm on weekdays. They are open throughout the day only on Sundays and government holidays. But whenever any national events are held in the city, these parks remain open throughout the day.
Chief horticulturist of BDA A. N. Dash said the parks were closed during the day for maintenance work. “People roaming in the park can hinder maintenance work. Besides, young couples often create problems. February 14 is a working day and the parks will therefore be opened according to schedule of any other regular working day,” said Dash.