It was a big shock for the residents of Shalimar Bagh, an area in northwest Delhi, when they first learnt that the biggest park in their colony was going to be turned into a multi-level parking lot.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was planning the parking lot.
The residents got together and protested against the move. They filed complaints and then filed public interest litigation against the MCD in court.
It took them a while, but finally the MCD had to shelve its plan to build the parking lot at the park.
“We have shelved the parking project in Shalimar Bagh keeping the views of the residents,” said Deep Mathur, Director (PR), MCD. “We have decided to relocate the proposed parking lot.”
The park, named Shiv Vatika, is located between the Block AM and AN of Shalimar Bagh. It is the only green zone available to more than 4,000 residents of the area.
“The park has 250 trees and the MCD had said it would cut down 100 trees for the car park. We took up the matter with the MCD but it yielded no result. It was then that we decided to approach the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA),” said Abhilasha Mathur, a resident of the area, who has been at the forefront of the residents’ movement.
“The area did not need such a big multi-level parking lot, especially at the cost of our park,” she said. “There are not that many cars here.”
The EPCA asked the MCD to immediately cancel the parking project in the area.
The residents claimed that the MCD had not conducted any survey of the area before making the parking plan. They said the MCD didn't consult them either.
The park falls on Maharishi Dayanand Marg.
“The authorities have wanted to create a parking lot here ever since the road was notified under the mixed land use category in the 2021 Master Plan. We have enough parking space and don't need any more,” said Mathur.
The residents now plan to maintain the parks themselves.