Worn out jogging tracks, broken swings, untrimmed grass, and uneven footpath — several parks in south Delhi are in immediate need of repair. Yet, all that the politicians are concerned about is beautifying the façade.
More than R35 lakh from the MLA Local Area Development Fund is being spent on construct ing designer gates outside colony parks in south Delhi. These gates are also being constructed in Greater Kailash 1, Kailash Colony, Chittranjan Park and Kalkaji, among others.
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is constructing these gates which are being financed from the MLA area development fund.
The residents of the area, however, are unhappy about the funds — meant for developmental activities — being wasted by politicians on such works.
“The funds were earmarked for our elected representatives to take care of the community’s pressing needs. The MLA Fund is not largesse to be doled out on pet projects. Instead, they have to be disbursed after surveying ground realities and public discussion. The need is to first improve the parks, which are in a state of neglect. Why waste money by constructing such designer gates that serve no purpose?” said DB Sood, general secretary of Kailash Colony resident welfare association.Poor maintenance of these parks have led to the RWAs taking over the maintenance of a number of parks. And the money wasted on building designer gates is not limited to just south Delhi. MLAs are getting such "designer" gates constructed in areas like Moti Nagar, Meera Bagh, Behra Enclave and many blocks of Janakpuri.
VK Malhotra, the MLA from Greater Kailash constituency who is getting these gates constructed, however, defended the move. “It is not only these designer gates that are being constructed; I am getting the sewage and water pipelines repaired too. My constituency is a mixture of various areas, which include posh colonies as well as slums too. The designer gates are meant to beautify the area and make them look attractive,” said Malhotra.
Residents argue that while the money is supposed to be spent in consultation with them, they had no information about this project.
“Parks in our colony are in a very bad shape where the children still play on rusted broken swings and slides of British-era design. There are no dustbins, no rain shelters. But rather than improving the parks they are wasting money by taking up such projects for publicity,” said Rajiv Kakaria, member of Greater Kailash 1 resident welfare association (RWA)."Many years ago, MCD installed fountains in public places from the MLA funds that served no purpose and are now being dismantled. They are the public’s representatives and should involve the residents of the area before taking up any projects," said Gulshan Rai, general secretary of C2 block Janakpuri RWA.