Mumbai: Garden repair halts takes away study time for BMC school children in Santacruz

Updated: Sep 02, 2019, 14:48 IST | Prajakta Kasale |

Residents who teach students in Santacruz garden demands speedy repairs to BMC

Kids at the classes that used to be held in the garden earlier
Kids at the classes that used to be held in the garden earlier

The Muktanand garden in Santacruz West, which has been closed for repairs four months ago, has been obstructing, among other things, the lessons of BMC school students who study here. Some of the residents guide students to impart crucial job skills to them. Local residents have been asking authorities to open at least a part of the garden so that they can take a morning walk and the students can continue their lessons.

The Muktanand garden in Saraswat colony was handed over to the spiritual group Brahmakumaris for caretaking a decade ago. The garden was in good condition until it was handed back to the civic body in September 2017. Without proper maintenance, the sidewall collapsed, the track was soiled, and the toilets became filthy within six months.

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BMC's Muktanand park has been closed from May for the renovation work
BMC's Muktanand park has been closed from May for the renovation work

The civic body has now taken up repair and renovation work since May this year. "We are told that the renovation will be done in phases, but the entire garden is dug up and no work is being done for the past few months," said Pragati Gupta, a local resident.

There are around 5,000 residents in the vicinity, with over 2,000 of them using the garden regularly. Apart from senior citizens and morning/evening walkers and kids, a group of BMC schools students too is affected with this closure.

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Residents Pragati Gupta, Anubha Sharma, Ela Sen and Bhavna Nagpal at Muktanand park which has been closed since May for renovation
Residents Pragati Gupta, Anubha Sharma, Ela Sen and Bhavna Nagpal at Muktanand park which has been closed since May for renovation

"About 120 to 150 students visit the garden in three batches — two in the morning and one in the evening. We teach them spoken English, general knowledge etc to enhance their skills," said Ela Sen, who is a volunteer with the Angel Xpress Foundation that trains volunteers to teach such underprivileged kids."Hundreds of BMC students from poor homes who would study in the garden pre/post school hours find themselves at a loss. The residents of the area who use the garden for walking and exercise also help these children," said Anubha Sharma, founder of Angel Xpress Foundation.

Use another garden, says corporator.

BJP corporator from H West ward, Alka Kelkar, said that the work of renovation was stopped due to heavy rain. "It will be completed in a few months. There is Juhu garden around 500 metres away where residents can go for their walks," she said. But that garden doesn't have a shed where students can sit in the monsoon, Sen said.

"We are currently guided students in the Rajesh Khanna garden but the shed there is very small with a capacity of only 20-25," she added. So far, 96 locals have sent letters to the BMC requesting speedy completion of the repair work. Sharad Ughade, assistant commissioner of H West did not respond to our calls and messages.

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