mid-day Garden Audit: Hemant Karkare Udyan transforms into a crime hotspot at night
Aside from incomplete works and damaged infrastructure and equipment, the biggest worry for residents and regular visitors is anti-social elements from the slums in the vicinity and the nuisance they create after sunset
Activities under cover of dark at the Hemant Karkare Udyan in Jogeshwari East are the biggest worry for residents and the thousands who throng the 6-acre recreational space daily. Locals alleged that after sunset, the place turns into a hotbed for anti-social acts, as miscreants enter by the dozen.
As this garden is surrounded by many residential buildings, and witnesses high footfall, the need of the hour is to deploy more security guards and set up a web of CCTV cameras, locals say.
Broken bottles of beer and other liquor greeted mid-day when this correspondent paid a visit to the garden recently. Locals told mid-day that after 7 pm anti-social elements from the nearby slums enter the garden illegally and create nuisance. Also, the main gate of the garden is quite small in size, making entering it a walk in the park.
Residents alleged that the few times security guards tried to bar the miscreants from entering, the latter threatened both the guards and the locals. mid-day's inspection of the entire premises showed that it has an open gym, a walking track, as well as a space for yoga enthusiasts; the track, however, is in a pitiable condition.
At many places, tiles in several sections of the garden were found broken, a cause for concern as the jagged pieces pose a risk of injury to morning and evening walkers as well as other visitors. The broken bottles, too, are a hazard, aside from being an eyesore, for the walkers and especially for the children who visit with their parents.
In another section of the garden, work on the fountains along with other infrastructure lies incomplete. In 2011, the garden had been in the news after locals had voiced their anger at the civic body for leaving several works unfinished. Locals had even agreed to put in their own money in a bid to get everything done. Seven years on, nothing has changed, as all the works that were incomplete in 2011 are still at the same stage.
The iron structures that were erected in a pool for the fountain, too, are in a bad state. Another major nuisance at this garden is that of graffiti scrawled on its walls, which affects the green space's aesthetic beauty.
Local BJP corporator Ujjwala Modak said, "I recently visited the park and saw all the problems it's facing. I will speak with the authorities concerned and see to it that maintenance work is undertaken after monsoon."
a resident of Meghwadi
'The empty beer bottles and broken glass pieces in a section of the garden are the best examples of the sorry state of affairs. Not only do authorities need to deploy more guards, but they also must install CCTV cameras. The local police should conduct surprise visits at night and take strict action against miscreants'
a regular visitor
'If one compares the condition of the garden when it was opened with how it is now, they will understand how the place has plummeted from good to awful. To me, it appears that the BMC is least bothered about carrying out maintenance, despite the fact that this garden gets more than 2,500 visitors daily'
Poonam Nagar resident
'This garden is an important recreational space in our area, visited by many people; hence, the authorities should speed up repairing damaged things, including the broken tiles, damaged benches and non-functional open gym equipment'
* Broken tiles
* Graffiti on walls
* Lack of adequate security and CCTV cameras
* Unfinished work on fountains and other infrastructure
* Poorly maintained walking track
* Overall unkempt appearance of the space
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