A day after the Hindustan Times reported how a private foundation had stopped children from playing in a public garden and a protest by citizens against a hike in entry fee, the civic body, on Saturday, appointed a committee to probe the matter.
Deputy municipal commissioner (Zone 3) Sudhir Naik said, “After these irregularities were brought to our notice, I have appointed a committee which has already visited the garden on Saturday and will be submitting a report to me in two days. Action will be taken after that.”
Residents in the area have been opposing the decision of Kamla Raheja foundation, which has been maintaining the Raosaheb Patwardhan garden, to raise the entry fee to Rs 5 from Re 1 and preventing children from playing there.
Speaking to HT on Friday, Naik had said, “No one can restrict children from playing inside the RG. It goes against our rules.” Regarding the hike in entry fee, Naik said the foundation had taken the civic body’s sanction.
Calling it an attempt to grab land, residents initiated protests against the foundation. They have now demanded that the plot be taken back from the foundation. Aftab Siddiqui, 33rd Road ALM chairperson, said, “The plot should be taken from the foundation because they have violated the fundamental rule of restricting entry not just to children, but also to people for whom paying Rs 5 to go to a park would be a luxury.”
The foundation has been maintaining this plot since 1991, when the civic body handed over 14,000 sq m of land reserved as an RG in the city’s development plan. The lease expires in February 2011.
GL Raheja, from the Foundation, said, “Three civic officials visited the garden. We have done nothing wrong. An inquiry is more than welcome.”