Mumbai: Citizens' forum wants Priyadarshini Park back to what it was

Priyadarshini Park honchos write letter asking civic authorities, fire brigade chief to restore garden to what it was

The fire engine has been moved to the side to clear the walking track
The fire engine has been moved to the side to clear the walking track

Remove the fire engine, restore the park to what it was - this is what the Malabar Hill Citizens' Forum has said, rewinding past the day a fire engine had gatecrashed the Priyadarshini Park (PDP) on June 14.

Crash and burn
On that quiet Wednesday afternoon, workmen had removed the trellised arch of Gate No. 2 at PDP and cut some tree branches to allow the tender to trundle in, its fiery red defiant in the angry red faces of Forum members, caretakers of the Park.

It first stationed itself on the walking track, causing shocked walkers and joggers to change their route, mid-stride, on June 14 evening. Numerous protests and some politics later, the engine was moved to a side of the Park, clearing the walking track.

Also read - Mumbai: BMC wants to build firefighting station inside Priyadarshini Park

At that time, BMC chief Ajoy Mehta had told mid-day, "The engine has been moved to one side to clear the path for walkers, but it is still in the Park. A major part of the community is happy that a fire engine is there, as it will help cut down response time in case there is a blaze in the nearby areas."

The complaint letter
Now, the Forum, after HC's order on Monday, has written a letter through its advocates to the BMC and fire authorities, saying that it is enclosing the Bombay High Court order dated June 19, 2017, whereby the court restored the petition filed and directed the parties to "maintain status quo ante i.e. to position as it was prior to June 5, 2017".

Also read - Mumbai: Firemen deployed in Priyadarshini Park complain of ill-treatment

The letter added, "In these circumstances, it is called upon you to maintain the status quo… and forthwith remove all the obstructions created by you in Priyadarshini Park, particularly the fire engine, temporary shed and the firemen forcibly occupying the park."

The letter accused the addressed of "breaking the entrance gate of Priyadarshini Park and cutting the branches of the beautiful trees, damaging the walking track, senior citizens' benches…" It went on to say that the engine on the walking track was causing "harassment to the public".

Also read: South Mumbai residents fume over fire engine parked at Priyadarshini Park

The Forum said its letter has gone via email, and a physical copy will be given to the parties concerned today.

While Mehta said, "I have not seen the letter; I will comment after I go through the legalese", Chief Fire Officer PS Rahangdale too said he would comment later but stressed that he is not against the Park.

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