mid-day Garden Audit: CD Deshmukh Udyan in Mulund is thriving despite BMC's negligence
Regulars and Mulund East residents have kept the CD Deshmukh Udyan alive by spending for maintenance from their own pocket, with the municipal corporation least bothered to address their repeated complaints
Dr CD Deshmukh Udyan in Mulund East is 25 years old and plagued by several problems. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Mulund East residents pool in money every month to fix whatever needs fixing, one at a time, at the Dr CD Deshmukh Udyan on Mahatma Phule road. No, it's not a private space; it's very much owned by the civic body. But the corporation is too busy doing nothing to have time to spare for the garden's maintenance.
On their own
When mid-day visited the park in Mulund, we found the source of vandalism and the reason it has been unchecked — old security guards who are not up to the task of taking miscreants, who go on a rampage damaging gym equipment, music system and other infrastructure there, to task. Residents have repeatedly complained to the ward officer and local corporator, listing all the problems they continue to face, but haven't got any help so far. So, they have united and do whatever they can to make the place safe and useful for visitors.
Residents have gotten the gym equipment fixed with their own money
Aside from most of the equipment being in a non-functional condition, one of the two water fountains on the premises also has been lying defunct. Sixty-year-old Nagesh Madaye, who regularly visits the garden in the mornings, said, "A lot of equipment was installed in the garden recently, in order to beautify it. But authorities simply brought it and left it; no one is bothering to do maintenance.
No thought was given to the set-up of the music system; there should have been some fencing or barricades. It now lies ruined, courtesy vandals. Also, there is no provision to protect the different equipment from rain, neither has anyone bothered to come and clean or repair whatever has been damaged due to water."
Callous civic body
Those who work out in the garden have been getting the gym equipment repaired with their own money. "The exercise machines installed in the garden are old. We had sent letters of request to the contractor and corporator to repair them, but no one came forward. So, each one of us contributed Rs 100 every month to call a repairman and fix the equipment, one by one, " said S B Koyande, who regularly exercises there.
Visitors who bring their kids are unhappy with canoodling couples found there all day
"Authorities have also created an area for skaters, but not everyone knows how to skate, and there's no trainer. So, the children who do know use it sometimes; otherwise, it lies abandoned."
Jotsna Mahadik, who visits the garden every evening with her children, also pointed to the absence of a PSA system. "Though there are loudspeakers, there is no mike. Had that been there, it would have been easy to make important announcements whenever the need arose. Two days ago, a six-year-old boy got lost in the garden. While his mother was searching for him, a senior citizen found him crying and took him to search for his mother. When I went to the security desk to make an announcement on this, the guard said he didn't know how to do it. Later, he admitted there was no mic. Residents and visitors have been spending their own money for basic amenities. What on earth is the BMC doing?" she fumed.
Corporator Rajani Keni said, "The equipment in this garden is not in the best of state because people don't use it properly. We have been working to improve this space. Also, I refute the allegation that we haven't taken care of the equipment in monsoon. I inspect the garden once a month."
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A slice of history
Residents who frequent the 25-year-old garden told mid-day that earlier, when the civic body used to maintain the place, there was a gardener to take care of the plants and keep everything trimmed and pruned and clean. But, two years ago, BMC entrusted the maintenance to a contractor, who hasn't been taking care of it. The municipal corporation hasn't bothered to keep tabs on him either.
* Uneven paver blocks
* Gym equipment in a poor condition
* Improperly functioning music system
* No mic for making announcements
* Non-functional water fountains
* Hawker menace outside the entrance
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