Move incurs the wrath of opposition leader as the development of these spaces has been delayed since three years
Over the years, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has steadily gained a reputation for procrastinating matters related to development of the city. The recent case in point is the development of five theme gardens in Mumbai that have been stalled by the civic body since three years. For this year (2014-15), it has given its garden department a budget provision of Rs 529.81 crore to develop 1,052 garden plots across the metropolis and tackle encroachment issues on various playgrounds and recreation grounds. Out of this huge sum, the BMC has allocated Rs 93 crore only for the development of the five theme gardens. While the civic authority is hopeful that this year work will finally start on the much-delayed project, opposition leaders are not so hopeful. They are appalled at the rate at which the taxpayers’ money has been wasted by the authorities.
Majority of the gardens are in a mess like the SK Patil Udyan at Charni Road that continues to be unkempt despite the BMC apparently spending Rs 156 crore to restore the garden in 2012. Pic/ Shadab Khan
Devendra Amberkar, leader of the opposition in the BMC said, “When the municipal body can’t utilise funds effectively, why has it made such large provisions in the budget? I doubt the humongous amount will be used effectively. There are about 1,052 gardens in Mumbai that need to be developed. Majority of the gardens continue to be in a bad shape. Most plots lay vacant and undeveloped. The BMC has been making empty promises every year but nothing has been done on the ground level.”
Out of the five theme gardens, two will be developed at Borivli and the locations of the other three are yet to be decided. Last year, the BMC made a budgetary provision of R5 crore to develop the Estuarian park near Mahim creek. But the project never saw light of the day as the consultant rejected the project’s feasibility near the creek.
Explaining the cause of delay in implementing the projects, a senior officer from the Gardens department said, on condition of anonymity, “This year, the BMC is going to focus on developing more open plots and gardens in the city, as now, the Gardens department has sufficient budgetary provisions. Earlier, work orders would come in only by December as tenders were floated in November.”
When contacted, Additional Municipal Commissioner, SVR Srinivas, sounded optimistic. He said, “There is a need to have more gardens in Mumbai. Theme gardens are a major attraction. So, we have made a budgetary provision of Rs 93 crore to develop five theme gardens.”