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Kolkatans’ plea to keep Rabindra Sarobar open beyond 6pm

250 people sign on letter to mayor Firhad Hakim seeking extension on longer hours for lake and children’s park

Subhajoy Roy | Published 21.12.22, 07:13 AM
Visitors to Rabindra Sarobar

Visitors to Rabindra Sarobar

File picture

The gates of Rabindra Sarobar should not close at 6pm but remain open for longer hours, about 250 Kolkatans have written to the city’s mayor Firhad Hakim.

The letter, which was emailed to Hakim on Tuesday morning, says before the pandemic struck, the Sarobar gates used to remain open till 9pm. “Our request: Can we get the closing time back to 9pm,” the letter reads.


The letter also appeals that the children’s park inside the Sarobar be allowed to remain open longer.

“The children’s park inside Rabindra Sarobar is open from 6am to 10am and from 3pm to 5.30pm. With the winter holidays coming up, these timings need to be reviewed. Children need to play inside the park dedicated to them through the day and not just during limited hours.”

Hakim is also the chairperson of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), the custodian of Rabindra Sarobar.

Among the signees of the letter are former cricketers Arun Lal, Devang Gandhi and Ashok Malhotra.

Author Amit Chaudhuri and many others have also lent their names to the formal appeal.

Hundreds of Kolkatans whose names are not on the list would echo the same demands.

Hakim told The Telegraph on Monday evening that he had yet to see the letter. “I will go through the letter and take a decision,” he said.

A security guard at the Sarobar said the park used to be open between 5am and 9pm till about 2016 or 2017, when the closing time was brought forward to 8pm.

The park remained closed for most of the pandemic and when it opened, it was only for a few hours.

Earlier this year, the park was thrown open from 5am to 7pm. About a month ago, the closing time was further brought forward to 6pm because of winter.

Many people prefer to take a walk in the evening in the winter months because of the poor air quality in the mornings. The Sarobar closing early doesn’t give them the scope, said a signatory to the letter. A 6pm closure means most people would not have even returned home from their offices. Those working from home may just be ending their day’s work.

“The air quality is bad during mornings. It is not necessary that people have to walk in the morning. At present, the air quality is better during afternoons and evenings,” said Ajoy Sarkar, a pulmonologist and critical care expert with Peerless Hospital.

Amit Chaudhuri said that the current state government should be credited for the revival of Rabindra Sarobar and now they should take it forward.

“I have been to the Sarobar at 8pm but the park doesn’t remain open till that time any longer. Closing the park at 6pm is a little absurd,” he said.

Arun Lal, who used to be a regular at the Sarobar till a couple of years ago, felt that “generally a lot of people will benefit if the park remains open for longer hours”.

“It is one of the nicest areas among all metropolitan cities. The more it is used, the better it is for the people,” he said.

Last updated on 21.12.22, 07:13 AM

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