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Mumbai: A park for the people

Updated on: 21 February,2024 07:01 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Hemal Ashar |

Juhu’s landmark Pushpa Narsee Park reopens; entry fee scrapped

Mumbai: A park for the people

Balloons flutter at the park

Key Highlights

  1. Pushpa Narsee Park in Juhu was festooned with balloons in tricolour fashion
  2. It was decked up for a formal re-opening by Ameet Satam
  3. Park was in news a while ago as there was a plan to construct an underground parking

Security personnel cautioned children not to “burst the balloons” as they ran through the gates of the well-known Pushpa Narsee Park in Juhu. The park—with a cycling track being an impressive and unique feature—was festooned with balloons in tricolour fashion late evening on February 19 evening. It was decked up for a formal re-opening by Ameet Satam, BJP MLA from Andheri West.

The park was in the news a while ago as there was a plan to construct an underground parking facility at the site. There was opposition to that plan, with environmentalists, activists and citizens citing alternatives and pressing for the park to remain a garden. The underground parking plan has been scotched and the park has remained a garden, even undergoing an uplift recently, which was reason for the formal reopening.

Equal music

Celebrated architect P K Das was on the dais at the reopening. Das said in his address to the audience, “This is an evening of happiness. Ameet Satam has been responsible for so many parks. As a city, we have a dismal ratio when for people to open spaces. That is why these places become so necessary and precious.”

Young people enjoy themselves at the park
Young people enjoy themselves at the park

For Das, a big positive of these open spaces is they serve as “great equalisers”. “Once you step in here, you are not more or less than the next person, you are equal. Earlier, this space had a paid entry ticket; today, it is free,” he said to cheers. “This I think is the biggest achievement,” he added to applause.

The plan

Satam, in his address, stated that the park was inaugurated in October 2011. “It was made over a period of roughly five years. I had heard there was a ticket price to enter earlier. Then, we also had some kind of ‘nursery’ at the park, where ‘X’ amount was being paid per month by the nursery to the park. There were some fairs and programmes on at the space… there was even a vegetable market held here. This was a gross misuse of space. Certain complaints had come to my notice. At first, I didn’t pay heed to these, but then decided that this entry, paid cycle track system etc. must be abolished.”

Satam said he was of the opinion that there should be a car park underneath this garden. “I had thought we could have two floors of parking underground and have the garden on top. The car park plan was also a way to ensure that this garden or park goes back to the municipal authorities. I wanted it back under the management of the BMC.”

Plans change

Satam claimed he was eventually convinced not to look at underground parking. “There was opposition from some. I was told there are beautiful trees here… they will be affected. I was known for gardens, so why not retain this park as is, I was asked, and that is what I went for eventually. I did not want underground parking for my car personally, it was for the public. Yet, once I was convinced to scrap that plan, there was no ego. I abolished the underground parking idea and saw that this space remained a garden as is. I have at least 51 open spaces developed over 12 years. None of them are controlled by me. Once the work is done, I hand them over to the BMC and I am out of there,” explained Satam. The MLA referred to several upcoming projects in Andheri too, as the function wound up. As dusk fell, ecstatic kids tore through the park, which is now a place for walking, running, cycling on two heels, not for stationary four wheels.

Feb 19
Day park was reopened

Year park was first inaugurated

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