Junkies, alcoholics welcome morning walkers at this park

The serenity and security that citizens seek when heading to the neighbourhood park for a morning walk or a jog is starkly missing from Sitaram Shenoy Garden at Navroji Hill Road. Residents of adjacent Sandhurst Road are distraught over the condition of the green space that is marred by filth, and the drug addicts and junkies who have made the vicinity their haven.

‘Foul’ play: The filth surrounding Sitaram Shenoy Park at Sandhurst Road has become unbearable for residents. Pics/Bipin Kokate

In addition, the public toilets in the garden are locked and never used. “Not once have we seen these restrooms function since the park came up,” said Kantilal Jain, a local resident. The grounds are open to people from 9 am to 12 pm and 3 pm to 9 pm every day. But locals say the security guards often lock the gates even when the park is meant to remain open.

Jain added, “People go for morning walks to become fit and enjoy the fresh air. When we approached BMC, it offered some solutions, but none of them have been implemented and the surroundings of the park are becoming shoddier by the day.”

RP Vani, a senior citizen who uses the park, said, “We have been writing letters to the civic body, but haven’t got any response. Almost 80 per cent of the benches in the garden are busted, as they just aren’t strong enough. There is no other place for us to sit, so we make do with the broken benches, despite the fear of falling over. Though these seats were brought in just three-four years ago after repeated requests, they are already in very poor shape.”

MiD DAY made several attempts to contact ward officer Jayant Bansod, but he was unavailable for comment. Dnyanraj Nikam, corporator of the area for the past 11 years, said, “The benches in the garden were selected by the residents themselves, so we are not to be blame for their condition. In the recent budget, we received Rs 80 lakh for the renovation of the garden, and we aim to finish the work by the end of the year.” When probed, Nikam said he was unaware of the problem pertaining to drug addicts and alcoholics, and said action would be taken soon. 

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