In run-up to civic polls, corporators busy converting amenity spaces into gardens
PUNE With the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) polls just round the corner, elected representatives are going all out with a flurry of citizen-centric initiatives to woo the electorate. Corporators are busy converting their amenity spaces into gardens, playgrounds and theme parks to attract voters in their respective constituencies.
Although only three gardens have been officially sanctioned by the civic administration over the past three months, over two dozen small and big parks have been inaugurated by corporators across the city to please citizens. According to officials, the gardens are being developed on open spaces with no reservation and are in the general category. According to the PMC, deserted places can be made green by planting trees.
PMC garden head Ashok Ghorpade said, “We are developing three gardens in Kondhwa and the adjoining areas where the projects have been sanctioned. We encourage citizens to plant trees as per the guidelines of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act.” Ghorpade said that initially, citizens take care of the spaces where they develop gardens and later after completing the paperwork, the civic body takes over the project.
A total of 208 public gardens have been developed in the city by the PMC. Around 100 out of these have come up on amenity spaces with 10 having come up recently. Some of these gardens were inaugurated in the Kothrud, Baner, Mohammadwadi, Kondhwa, Kharadi, Kale Padal and Hadpasar areas of the city. According to the elected representatives, the greatest demand is for public gardens followed by that for playgrounds even as some residents want a hospital or public dispensary for their ward. In the Kale Padal area of the city, a massive garden and sprawling sports ground is being readied on reserved amenity spaces to be inaugurated before the announcement of the model code of conduct.
Corporator Pramod alias Nana Bhangire who has been spearheading over a dozen citizen-centric projects in ward number 26 namely Mohammadwadi said, “I have been trying to bring funds under various categories for development of the ward. We are building a world-class sports complex, playground, gardens, theme parks and a nullah garden for the citizens. Similarly, we are taking assistance from private agencies to ensure that the development works are carried out in full swing.” Of these projects, the playground-cum-garden sits on six acre of land and is being constructed at a cost of ₹6 crore while the sports complex – one of the biggest sporting venues – is being constructed on four acre of land at a cost of ₹8 crore.
According to BJP corporator Srinath Bhimale, corporators carry out public works including constructing public gardens, playgrounds and schools; beautifying chowks; installing CCTVs; among others for residents of the locality. “I have completed flyover work including taking possession of the space reserved for the garden which is a major victory for the people. It’s a good thing that the corporators are completing the pending work before the civic body goes to polls,” Bhimale said. The residents of Salisbury Park from where Bhimale has been elected as corporator won a 20-year-long battle for the garden in November. The new garden spread across 3.5 acre lies adjacent to the old Gool Poonawala garden at Salisbury Park.
According to social activist Pravin Chavan, with polls round the corner, the elected representatives are busy inaugurating gardens, playgrounds and other public utilities, which is a good sign. “However, we want citizens to play a direct role in the decision making process as elected representatives do not always undertake projects as per public needs. The issue of reservation of amenity spaces must be taken up after considering the citizens’ demands and not the amenity space committee which makes unilateral decisions in official cabins,” he said.
BOX: Areas where gardens have been developed
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