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High-level meeting set up to solve mystery of unused Rs 156-cr garden

MiD DAY had exposed how the garden was left in a mess after undergoing works for five years, with the BMC’s garden department not bothering to restore it for public use

On the very day that MiD DAY reported on the sorry state of SK Patil Udyan on Charni Road even after it underwent works worth Rs 156 crore, the chairman of BMC’s garden department, M S Bora, along with Niranjan Shetty, member of the Tree Authority of BMC, visited the garden. They have now asked for an explanation from the Garden department on the matter.

During their visit, Bora and Shetty asked the employees manning the site why the garden was not yet ready for the people. Those present at the garden could not give a proper answer. A joint meeting has now been scheduled, to deliberate on the matter. Shetty confirmed the development, saying, “Yes, we visited the garden, after reading MiD DAY’s article.”

Over a year after the garden was handed back to the garden department, it is yet to be restored to its original condition and reopened for public use
Over a year after the garden was handed back to the garden department, it is yet to be restored to its original condition and reopened for public use

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 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.

 BMC officials Niranjan Shetty (left) and SM Bora (second from left) paid a visit to the garden yesterday to inspect the site, after reading the MiD DAY report. Pics/Shadab Khan
BMC officials Niranjan Shetty (left) and SM Bora (second from left) paid a visit to the garden yesterday to inspect the site, after reading the MiD DAY report. Pics/Shadab Khan

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. It remains a mystery why the garden department did nothing to restore the garden to its original condition and throw it open to the public ('BMC spent Rs 156 crore of your taxes and gave you this garden,' February 6).


MiD DAY’s report on Feb 6

“The condition of the garden is deplorable. I’ve written a letter asking the chairman to call for a joint meeting, where we can ask the garden department why they haven’t yet started the renovation work, when work in the garden was over nearly a year ago.

This is not acceptable, as we need open spaces to be kept properly,” said Shetty. According to Shetty, Bora has told him that he will call the garden superintendent and ask him to explain the delay. He is also planning to impose a fine on the contractor for the delay.

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