“I used to go to the Children’s Park every morning,” said 10-year-old Aurko Mahapatra, a resident of Sector 37, Noida.
“That’s where I saw a kingfisher for the first time. It had flown over from the adjoining bird sanctuary,” he added.
But with the Ambedkar Park coming up where the Nandan Kanan Park, Nature’s Trail, Children’s Park, Smriti Vana and Navagraha Park used to be, Aurko, like other children, will have no option but to visit his society’s barren cricket ground. The beautiful place where he heard a Koel singing for the first time will stay only in his dreams.
“Will these stone statues generate oxygen?” asked Surendra Sharma (20), a student, who like many who started visiting Gulab Vatika — the only remaining public park — after the other five became inaccessible. “Statues, no matter how beautiful, can’t replace the 6,000 trees that have been cut down to create the grand park.”
“Is the government not aware of the environmental damage? This will affect everything from residents’ health to the amount of rainfall Noida gets,” said Vipin Mavi (20).
Many rued the effect the proposed park has had on residents of surrounding areas.
Sumit Kundi (21), a resident of Sector 14 who visits Gulab Vatika daily, said: “I used to go to the Nature’s Trail Park earlier but started coming here after construction began. Public parks are the only places where athletes like me can go. Not many can afford a stadium membership.”
Kanan Jaiswal (60), a retired bank manager who lives adjacent to the park, said: “There is a bird sanctuary adjacent to the park. The traffic of birds will also be affected by the large-scale felling of trees,” he said.