Parks in posh South Delhi can be one of the best case studies to support decentralisation of power by involving citizen groups in execution of projects related directly to the people.
The tony residential address also has the distinction of being one of the greenest enclaves of the national Capital. But a closer look would reveal how it is the citizens and not the government which deserves a pat on the back for the area earning this sobriquet.
Resident Welfare Associations maintain about 3,000 parks of the total 6,400 green areas in south Delhi. However, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation claims that the number is as less as 700. But, what is appalling is the state of the parks maintained by the civic body when compared to those under the care of the RWAs.
The corporation-maintained parks look like barren wastelands when compared to the ones looked after by the RWAs. Dysfunctional water pumps and lights, lack of proper upkeep, no benches and littered garbage are some of the distinctive feature of corporation parks.
One such park is situated near Kailash Colony Metro Station, behind the Kailash Colony bus stop. Portions of the boundary walls of this park are missing. Food packets, wrappers, plastic bags and glasses and all sort of garbage can be found scattered across the premises. Barring one, there are no benches. Shrubs and bushes sport an unkempt look.
Apart from a few local boys playing cricket in the evening, residents seem to shy away from this apparent green chunk. Contrast this with a park at E-Block, Greater Kailash I. The park is divided into sports, toddler and ornamental sections. The RWA, which maintains this park, has eight gardeners on its payroll.
“The ornamental section has been adopted by one of the residents. The corporation gives us R6,000 for just two gardeners. We spend over R50,000 per month on gardeners, sweepers, masons, security personnel, CCTV cameras, grass-cutting equipment and seeds,” said Rajiv Kakria, RWA member.