A project to build a jogging track and parking spaces under a flyover in Matunga is facing opposition from residents, who say they were not consulted before the project was cleared.
The recreation space is being built by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and the gardens department under a flyover on the Dr BR Ambedkar Road, between Maheshwari Udayan and the Ruia College junction.
Apart from the jogging track and parking space, the one-km-long stretch will also house two carom rooms and a cabin for security personnel.
“This is India’s first under-flyover project and is based on the concept of the Narmada river, which is why the walking path is twisting and turning like a river,” said Nayna Sheth Doshi, the local municipal councilor.
But nearly 2,200 residents have signed a document opposing the project on the grounds that the design itself is faulty.
“We are not happy with the work, as the design is faulty and our suggestions have not been considered,” said Vinay Ghatani, the president of the Matunga Youngsters Club.
“The jogging track has been designed as a twisting path that is narrow. This will make walking uncomfortable, especially for senior citizens. At certain spots, the path is so narrow, it’s difficult to accommodate even two people,” he said.
Another resident, Rajiv Mehta, said all of them unanimously agreed the garden is of no use. “It is already creating problems for residents to cross the road, even before it has been made,” said Mehta, adding that the cabin for indoor games was unnecessary.
“The area will become a haven for drug peddlers and encroachers. It was much easier for residents to just walk under the bridge before the plan was put in place,” he said.
The residents said project could be costing close to Rs3.5 crore. “But we believe the cost need not exceed Rs1.5 crore. We have suggested a new plan to save the tax-payers’ money,” Ghatani said.
Responding to residents’ objections, Doshi said when the project was first proposed, some residents were consulted during a meeting with officials from MCGM, the garden department and local authorities six months ago. “The work began three months ago. If the residents had problems, why didn’t they raise them then?” she said.