The sorry state of an 8,035-square metre plot in Khar - meant for a playground - typifies the civic body's attitude to the city's open spaces and shows what willful neglect has done to one of the few remaining open plots in Mumbai.
Despite repeated requests - the last one was made in 2006 - the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did not give permission to the St Elias High School, located on the adjoining plot off 20th Road, to adopt the plot under the adoption policy. The policy was stayed in 2007.
The school has no playground of its own so its 1,800 students have no place to play in.
Now, slums have encroached upon one-third of the 5,035 sq m plot - about 3,000 sq m - reserved for the playground.
"This ground's condition is pitiable. Had the BMC planned its development or even bothered to fence it off, it could have been used by the school students and by residents," said activist Raja John Bunch, former teacher of the school, who has been campaigning for improving the state of the ground.
Apart from a playground, a part of the plot has also been reserved for a police station and for housing the project-affected people (PAP).
The BMC is now thinking of a slum rehabilitation project on the section reserved for housing.
"We are currently trying to work out the modalities of the scheme. Once finalised, we'll re-house people on a part of the plot and take up the rest of the plot for beautification," said a civic official from the H-west ward, on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.