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Jogging space goes to plants

For the residents of Greater Kailash-I — a posh colony known for its markets and narrow roads choked with traffic — in south Delhi, the only oasis of tranquility is a park, reports Sidhartha Roy.

delhi Updated: Jan 04, 2010 23:02 IST
Sidhartha Roy

For the residents of Greater Kailash-I — a posh colony known for its markets and narrow roads choked with traffic — in south Delhi, the only oasis of tranquility is a park.

And now the park is under the threat of shrinking.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which is responsible for its upkeep, is planning a nursery for plants in a section of the park. Digging has begun at one end of the park for the nursery.

The municipal body has 27 nurseries in the city, which provide plants and saplings to all the parks maintained by the corporation.

GK-I is not the only area where the MCD is planning to take over parks to build other facilities. And they are not building nurseries everywhere.

Many parks in the city may soon turn into multi-level parking lots.

“We have been fighting with the MCD for the improvement of our park. It does not have a gardener, the garbage keeps piling and the walking track is in bad shape,” said Prof. S.C. Malhan, who taught in Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College.

“We wanted improvement of the park and instead the MCD is planning to take away half of the park for a nursery,” he said.

The eight-acre park is the only big open space in the whole colony. It serves more than 7,000 families living in the eight blocks of GK-I.

Lack of maintenance is evident. The walking tracks and benches are dirty, and grass and plants are not looked after.

Even then residents of the area come here regularly for walks and children play football and cricket.

The residents’ association claimed that MCD didn’t inform them before starting digging for the nursery.

“We found some work on at one corner of the park and found out that a nursery has been planned here,” said Malhan.

Rajiv Kakria of GK-I residents’ welfare association said there was another nursery in the area.

“It is near the park. What is the need to have another nursery here?” he said.

Kakria said the MCD should have involved the residents before planning such a project.

“It is not building a nursery in the jungle. GK-I has a very active residents' association, which should have been consulted,” he said.

There are many residents, like advocate Sudhir Kalra, who have grown up playing in the park.

They fear the next generation will be deprived of that privilege.

“I have played football here. We had inter-block tournaments,” Kalra said. “Our generation was lucky to get such spaces. Why snatch away this space from the next generation?”

Residents also think that the idea of a nursery at the park was not feasible.

“There is never enough water in GK-I and the park is barren for lack of water,” said Kalra. “Where will the MCD find the water required to run a

nursery?”