It took 13 months, Rs 48 lakh and unending perseverance for a group of citizens to untangle the bureaucratic red tape and cajole politicians to help beautify and extend the Carter Road promenade.
Residents notched up another first for Mumbai: This is the first beautification project that involved residents of surrounding slums. This was necessary to keep the promenade encroachment-free and help in its maintenance. The new-look promenade opens on Sunday.
Alarmed by encroachers and the filth surrounding the promenade, members of the Khar-Bandra-Santacruz Foundation had proposed its extension. Aware that the project would not take off if left to the civic authorities, the foundation decided to get it off the ground on their own.
“We had the plan on paper 13 months ago. However, it could not be implemented because of lack of funds, and poor coordination between the civic body, MHADA and the advanced locality managements (ALMs),” said Renuka Tahiliani, of the YMCA ALM.
Residents asked MP Priya Dutt and MLA Baba Siddique for funds from their area development kitty. Architect PK Das drew up the plan to beautify the promenade and residents pushed the civic body to get the area cleaned.
The promenade will now have a 200-metre extension (24 metres wide), a walking track, a chessboard ground, a gazebo for providing shade, a vermicompost bed, and solar panels and windmills.
Local slumdewellers were initially opposed to the extension, but were later convinced about its benefits. “This beautification is for our own good. Our children will use it,” said Haroon Khokar, resident of a seaside slum.