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Civic neglect beheads dino

- Promise to fix concrete Triceratops, but let’s see when

Rhinos have one or at best two horns, but this dino had three.

The herbivore Triceratops, Greek for “three-horn face”, lost its existence some millennia ago, but its concrete lookalike at a Hazaribagh park lost its head on Monday.

Made of cement, the attractive Triceratops, which is a part of Jurassic Park located in a corner of Shaheed Nirmal Mahto Park now has a cavernous crack between its head and torso. The crack is so deep that its horned head is now touching the ground.

It is as if the park’s shoddy maintenance told Triceratops: “Off with your head!”

Triceratops at the Shaheed Nirmal Mahto Park used to stand 15 feet high. It is a 35-feet structure in length.

It gave company to eight other dinosaurs at the two-year-old park built at a cost of Rs 4.78 crore, including the biggest star of them all, the long-necked Brachiosaurus.

At 80 feet high and 105 feet long, the concrete Brachiosaurus looks okay, without visible cracks.

But why did the Triceratops cave in?

“Visitors treat these concrete structures like rocking horses. They climb on the dinosaurs and then ask others to click pictures,” a park official said. “It’s tough to stop visitors because we don’t have manpower to keep vigil on the 33-acre park.”

Visitors on the other hand said no one bothered to maintain the grass at the park, forget the dinosaurs. It is true that grass grows wild everywhere on the parkland, including the dinosaur corner. The original dinosaurs, ravenous herbivores, would have approved of the wild grass. But a city park deserves a more clean, trimmed look, say frequent visitors.

Both the arguments have their merits.

Special officer of the park’s civic guardian Hazaribagh Municipal Board, Ajay Sao said they had 34 workers and spent Rs1.5 lakh a month for their salaries.

However, the park earns Rs 3.5 lakh a month from footfall revenue. It deserves — and can afford — to get pampered, something the municipal board has failed to accomplish.

On maintenance, he said: “We will soon float a tender to hand over the park’s maintenance to an agency. Specifically, the damaged dinosaur will be reconstructed soon.”

But Hazaribagh will know how soon is “soon”.

The park’s earlier track record is not encouraging. The time gap between laying of the park’s foundation stone and its inauguration was four-and-a-half years. On September 19, 2008, then deputy chief minister Sudhir Mahto laid the park’s foundation stone. On March 6, 2013, it was finally inaugurated by governor Syed Ahmed. On October 1, 2013, the state forest department transferred the park to Hazaribagh Municipal Board.

Over these two years, Jurassic Park has emerged the top draw in the city’s green lung that also has fountains, amusement parks, a bhul bhulaiya, rose gardens and statues of freedom fighters.