Tending SoBo gardens for four decades

  • Rishma Kapur, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 24, 2014 00:42 IST

If you have been to Cuffe Parade, chances are you have admired some of its lush gardens. The gardens are indeed the pride of the locality, and with good reason. The greens are zealously maintained by the residents of the area, leaving nothing for the civic body.

The Cuffe Parade Residents Association (CPRA) was founded in 1975, to take responsibility for cleaning and beautifying their neighbourhood.

“There were hardly any buildings in the area then. Most of the land was barren or had slums. The main idea behind forming CPRA was to come together and resolve common issues of the locality,” said BM Chaturvedi, vice-president of the association.

The association is registered formally under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Registered with just 26 members 40 years ago, it now has membership running into thousands. The group has a 35-member committee that meets at regular intervals to discuss and find solutions for civic issues in the area. Last year alone, the association spent Rs20 lakh on caring for the trees in the parks.

One of the gardens the CPRA has taken responsibility for is situated near the Institute for Chartered Accountants of India, Cuffe Parade. Known as the BMC CPRA Green Garden, the garden has been maintained by the association for nearly 20 years, in association with the civic body.

“We ensure there is a proper sitting area and walking pavements,” said Chaturvedi.
The body maintains another garden – Bayview Marina Garden – that faces the sea.
“The land had a slum on it. We contacted the BMC to hand it over to us. Once we got the permission, we levelled the entire land and developed it into a proper garden with fencing. Last year, we also installed a fountain with lights here,” said Chaturvedi.

The garden has a pavement for walking and a playing area for children.

Residents of the area say the gardens not only help them relax, but also to meet neighbours.

“The gardens have facilities like acupressure walking tracks and manicured lawns. They are also great for meeting people,” said Aarti Wadhwani, a resident of Cuffe Parade.

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