Locals from Dadar’s Five Gardens area have emerged victorious after mayor Shraddha Jadhav on Friday rejected the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) proposal to reduce the green cover in the area.
In a proposed beautification plan, the civic body had proposed to reduce the area of the iconic Mancherji Joshi circle, and instead, build a pavement on its periphery, thus reducing the green cover.
Activist Nikhil Desai, actively involved in the campaign to oppose the Five Gardens ‘beautification’ plan, said: “Despite us being locals of the area, the civic body didn’t find it important to convince us and instead, tried to impose its plans on us in the name of beautification.”
One of the major grouses the locals had against the civic body’s plans was the reduction of green cover at the Mancherji Joshi circle for building a pavement around the periphery, outside the circle. This, civic officials said, would have ensured that people could have walked safely along the periphery.
However, residents opposed the plan, stating that there was no need for such a pavement. Zareen Engineer, granddaughter of Mancherji Joshi, the founder of Dadar Parsi Colony, said: “The circle has an iconic presence and it has been around for more than 80 years now. We have never felt the need to have a pavement along the circle’s periphery. Why does the BMC have to suddenly wake up, and reduce the green cover of the area by such measures?”
The colony, one of the few remaining green havens in the city, was planned by Joshi after first demarcating these five green spots, now known as the Five Gardens.
That was the kind of importance Joshi had given to green cover and open spaces, as long back as in 1923. Hence, it’s imperative that the civic body respects that,” said Engineer.
Speaking to The Hindustan Times, mayor Shraddha Jadhav said, “If we are doing it for local residents then it’s important that locals be satisfied with what has been proposed.” Rejecting the civic body’s proposal, Jadhav said, “I observed that there was actually no need for the proposed pavement since the circle has been without one for years. Hence, I have instructed my officials to not have the proposed pavement.”