A BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) panel appointed to probe allegations by residents against guardians of Raosaheb Patwardhan Park in Bandra (W) has said children should not be prevented from playing there. But, the BMC has put on hold any decision on the controversial garden.
Deputy municipal commissioner (Zone-III) Sudhir Naik will now visit the garden himself, on Saturday, after which a final decision will be taken.
The Hindustan Times had reported how local residents had been protesting against the Kamla Raheja Foundation’s decision to hike entry fee to the garden from Rs2 to Rs5, as well as its decision to not allow children to play inside the ground.
Locals have been protesting the foundation’s move as, under the civic body’s development plan (DP), the plot had been reserved as a recreation ground, which implies that children can play in the compound.
The article by Hindustan Times highlighting the issue led Naik to announce a probe into the matter, the report of which was submitted to him on Thursday.
Naik said, “Ideally, children should be allowed to play in the garden, as it has been reserved as an RG. But, we have also got opinions from some people that as it’s a park which senior citizens frequent, allowing children to play sports like cricket and football might injure them.”
Locals, however, rubbished this suggestion.
Sunil Wagh, who has been residing near the park since 1961 said, “The park has a separate enclosure for children, with wired fencing around it. Where is the question of injuring senior citizens here?”
Activist Aftab Siddiqui, who first raised the issue, said, “The park is closed from 10am to 5pm, which is when most children venture out to play. The playground has a separate exit, which has been closed by the foundation. Let them open that gate for children.”
Speaking about the hike in entry fee, Naik said, “I am unsure whether the municipal corporation has given a nod to the hike. I will have to check on this.”
GL Raheja, of the KR Foundation, had earlier maintained that the foundation had the BMC’s permission to hike the fee.