BMC spent Rs 156 cr of your taxes and gave you this garden!

Feb 06, 2014, 07:12 IST | Varun Singh

On paper, work on the water pipeline at S K Patil Udyan in Charni Road was completed in 2012. However, a visit to the garden premises will reveal that it is still shut, after work was completed at a staggering cost of Rs 156 crore of taxpayers’ money.

The gate leading into the park is broken
The gate leading into the park is broken

In 2007, more than 75 per cent of the garden was closed, so that renovation and water pipeline work could be completed. The work was expected to be completed in 39 months. However, it continued for over five years, reaching completion only in 2012, after the BMC had spent Rs 156 crore. MiD DAY had reported on the garden ('Come visit this garden. It’s worth 142 crore', December 17, 2011).

A police van is parked inside
A police van is parked inside

A response to an RTI application filed by local resident Jeetendra Ghadge says that according to the BMC’s water department, the work on the water pipeline was completed by December 2012. In response to Ghadge’s query on when garden would be restored for public use, the water department referred Ghadge to the BMC’s gardens department.

The security guard’s cubicle inside the park
The security guard’s cubicle inside the park

When this correspondent paid a visit to the garden yesterday, he was stopped by a man dressed in plain clothes, who claimed he was the security guard. Asked if he was a BMC employee, he said he was a private security guard. A police van was stationed inside the garden, about 100 metres from the entrance.

MID DAY’s cover story on  December 17, 2011 when the garden was still under renovation
MID DAY’s cover story on  December 17, 2011 when the garden was still under renovation

The police van belonged to LT Marg police station. Sanjiv Mandlik, senior police inspector of the station, said, “The police van is there for patrolling, and with schools nearby, we have policemen posted there.” Asked why the van was parked so deep inside the garden and why no cop was seen at the entrance or on the roads, Mandlik said he would check what the problem was and initiate action.

MiD DAY’s report on Dec 17, 2011
MiD DAY’s report on Dec 17, 2011

Prakash Konde, the garden superintendent, didn’t answer our phone calls. The RTI response from the gardens department, however, said, ‘Presently, the preparation of a tender is in process for the improvement of the S K Patil Udyan in C ward.

Once the official procedure is completed, the agency will be appointed and the work will be taken in hand.’ A statement released by Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte after the budget was released also mentions that SK Patil Udyan will be improved in the financial year 2014-15.

Jeetendra Ghadge said, “Considering the expensive realty rates of south Mumbai, this is a clear attempt by private parties to grab the land, and that is why the playground was never restored, even after completion of work.

As always, everyone, from the contractor, to BMC officials to local netas would be hand in glove in this plan. I have fond memories of playing in this garden and it is unfortunate that the new generation of kids have been deprived of their right to play.”

Rs 530 crore
The provision for Gardens Department in the BMC budget tabled yesterday

5
No of years it took to complete work on the water pipeline

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