No walk in the park for Mumbai

In a city where open spaces and gardens are an absolute luxury, children play in handkerchief-sized spaces that pass for parks. People walk and run on subways and skywalks for daily exercise. Gyms have members keeping a wary eye out in case they are hit by a flailing limb during workouts.

So, when gardens are shut for months for some ridiculous reason like nobody is available to cut the inaugural ribbon, or, because it has become a bone of contention for two political parties, the pain and disappointment is sharp.

The development of Homavazir garden in Matunga has been in limbo because of two corporators — Congress’ Naina Seth and Shiv Sena’s Trushna Vishwasrao — who have differing plans for it.

A number of plans have gone back and forth, but there is nothing definite on development. Currently, the garden does not have a gate, adequate lighting or high boundary walls. Like so many open spaces, it has become a hub of nuisance to residents.

It is time for a consensus on the garden; time for it to be cleared of all anti-social elements, and be made a safe, open space for people. Keep it as a recreation ground for Mumbaikars who have no place to enjoy a bit of air, unwind or simply walk their stress away.

Most of all, it is imperative that quick steps are taken to address the disrepair this garden has fallen into. This needs attention first, and then the larger issue of the exact plan for the garden can be followed up.

Some open spaces in Mumbai are rendered inaccessible, simply because they have been encroached and overrun by people. A city must take pride in its recreational spaces, Mumbai even more so, because they are so scarce.

Let us not just wait for plans to be implemented. Authorities must have the will to give a safe, clean garden to locals — one that will act as a green lung in traffic-choked Matunga.

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