Seven years ago, when the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was planning to install a water fountain at Block B-3 of Safdarjung Enclave, residents of this south Delhi colony put their foot down.
“MCD officials were going to install a fountain here but we said no,” said Pankaj Aggarwal of Safdarjung Enclave residents’ welfare association.
“These are monstrous structures that were never required in the first place and were never put to proper use wherever these were installed,” he said.
“Crores of rupees have been spent on fountains. The MCD should take the consent of the residents before imposing these structures on us,” he said.
Aggarwal said the colony park was always neglected by the MCD and that is when the residents decided to take things into their own hands.
“We developed it with our money. We made a walkway and then came plants, grass and manure, all with contribution from residents,” he said.
Instead of a fountain, the residents got a high mast light from the MLA’s local area development fund, which they think was a better use of public money.
The residents’ association has installed a pump and employed a gardener to look after the plants. “MCD employees mow the grass regularly and clean the garbage,” said Aggarwal.
“What you need in a park is greenery, plants and swings for children, not fountains that never work,” he said.
The park, one of the finest in Safdarjung Enclave, was once the venue for weddings too. Parking problems and fights between wedding guests and residents were common.
“It was a mess ten years ago. Weddings were held and it was left dirty,” he said.
Anjali Bhardwaj of Satark Nagrik Sangathan, an NGO, said residents of a slum in Begumpur had a similar success. “They forced their representative to first provide drinking water facilities and then install fountains and high mast lights at the park,” she said.