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Dream come true

Residents and shanty dwellers got together to make Carter Road promenade beautification project a reality, reports Bhavika Jain.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2009 02:13 IST
Bhavika Jain

It’s an example of taking all residents — and not just the English-speaking elite — into confidence before embarking on a beautification drive.

Carter Road residents managed to get slum dwellers — fisher folk who have been staying at the seafront in shanties for decades and, perhaps, in Mumbai before it became a metropolis for centuries — on their side when they drew a plan to beautify the promenade. And authorities worked with citizens and not at cross-purposes.

The Carter Road promenade will be open to the public on Sunday.

“We spent a lot of time sitting with them (the fishing community) and convincing them that the beautification would also help them,” said Anandini Thakoor, trustee of Khar residents’ association.

“It’s the first time that we too had a say in a project in our area,” said Savitri Shelke, a fisherwoman. “It is beneficial for us so we will try to keep it (the promenade) clean. It’s a team effort and we will have to keep it going to maintain the promenade as well.”

The fisher folk will maintain the gazebo built at one end of the promenade, named after the late actress Nargis Dutt.

“The promenade can be used by them (the fishing community) to stage their Ganapati idols during the 13-day festival,” said Thakoor. “It (the gazebo) can also be used for their children at night and as a shelter in monsoons.”

Citizen groups were also active in building the promenade ten years ago.

It will now include a 150-metre extension, a walking track, a small ‘chessboard’ ground, a gazebo for providing shade, a vermin-compost bed and solar panels and windmills to meet the promenade’s power requirements.

Residents networked with the area’s MP Priya Dutt and MLA Baba Siddique to provide funds for the project. Architect P.K. Das drew up the plan and the project cost was Rs 48 lakh.