Mumbai: Broken aeroplane at Juhu breaks kids' hearts
Rusted seats and filthy interiors of aeroplane at Juhu prompts parents to complain to BMC, who slaps fine on contractor appointed for maintenance
If passing on Linking Road in Santacruz, the aeroplane model at Lion's Juhu Municipal Children's park is sure to catch your eye. Anyone curious enough to walk into the structure, however, will be greeted first with a foul smell, followed by the eyesore that is broken seats and filthy walls, which discourages most parents from letting their children in. Complaints from residents prompted the civic body to conduct a site inspection, after which officials slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on the contractor for poor maintenance.
Be it children or young adults, no one can bear to sit inside for more than a few minutes. Buraque Ashfaq Hussain, 24, brings her two-year-old daughter Aliza and four-year-old son Zaydan to the garden every Thursday and Sunday, keeping a hawk's eye on them when they venture near the aeroplane.
The rusted, broken seats that are dangerous for kids
"Sometimes, teenagers can be found smoking inside, and other times, it is occupied by couples, as there are no lights there. Not to mention, all chairs are damaged and dirty. I don't feel safe letting my children go inside," she said.
Pedder Road resident Kavita Buch, 34, has fond memories of the aeroplane, which she used to visit as a child. But trying to share a part of her childhood with her two-and-a-half-year-old son Avyan left them both disheartened. "My son loves aeroplanes, and I thought this would be fun for him. But he didn't like it at all," she said.
Both Hussain and Buch feel that the absence of an entry fee and round-the-clock security is responsible for this state of affairs. Hussain said there were only two guards at the park, which isn't sufficient to cover the entire area.
The children aren't thrilled about this either. Aditya Raut and his classmate Noor Alam, both 12, come to the garden thrice a week but hate entering the aeroplane. "The chairs are broken, and it always smells bad. Even if we go in, we can't sit for long. They shouldn't allow adults to go inside, because they ruin it for us," said Alam.
Many a times, people defecate and urinate inside the aeroplane, despite there being toilets for both men and women inside the garden. People have even scribbled mobile numbers and love notes on the plane's walls.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Sharad Ugade told mid-day the BMC had sent a notice to the contractor, Vaibhav Enterprises, earlier this week for not maintaining the garden. He added that there are plans to renovate the structure soon. "As a temporary measure, the structure is being repainted. We will refurbish the interiors and put up lights inside after Diwali," he said.
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