Two years ago, PU Mehta drew out no less than Rs 6 crore from his MLA funds to beautify a lotus pond in Malad (West), adding amenities for locals to use. Today, the site is little more than a dumping ground where alcoholics and drug addicts squat.
The lotus pond was a natural water body in Malwani, Malad (West) spread across two acres. In course of the renovation, the surrounding area was landscaped, and amenities were added, including a walking track and a playground with swings.
Photographs obtained by MiD DAY tell a sorry tale of neglect, with empty liquor bottles floating in the water and tons of rubbish lying scattered on the banks. “It is impossible for any family to visit this place, even though it was a picnic spot even recently.
Alcoholics and drug addicts take advantage of the missing gates and lights and the absolute absence of security to enter the place and misuse it,” complained Samson David, a local resident.
David added that the rotting garbage and the stink it emits is another major deterrent for visitors and morning walkers. Confirming the expenditure, Member of Parliament Sanjay Nirupam, who inaugurated the renovated Lotus Pond, stated that the funds were coordinated through the District Planning and Development Council (DPDC) and were allotted from the MLA’s fund to preserve and beautify a natural water body, which was covered in blooming lotus flowers.
Nirupam added that over a period of time, slums covered the adjacent area. There was no provision in the MLA fund to maintain the facility. “Now that it has been brought to my notice, I will personally ensure that the pond is restored to its former glory and people misusing it are kept in check,” he asserted. Aslam Sheikh, the present MLA, was unavailable for comment.