MCG set to take control of 260 parks due to poor upkeepUpdated: Oct 18, 2020, 22:56 IST
Around 260 of the 483 parks maintained by residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) may soon be taken over by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram’s (MCG) ward committee, officials said on Sunday.
In January, the MCG had formed a regulation and monitoring committee for supervising parks and community centres in Gurugram. The committee is responsible for issuing funds to the RWAs for the upkeep of parks.
The committee, which is empowered to hand over the maintenance of parks to the MCG’s ward committee in cases of infighting, discrepancy or below-par maintenance, has drawn up a list of parks to be transferred to the ward committees. Each ward committee consists of the local councillor, experts, few MCG officials, residents and representatives of RWAs.
Currently, there are 808 parks in the city, of which 483 are maintained by RWAs and 325 by the MCG. Earlier this month, 15 more parks were transferred by the Haryana Shahri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) to the MCG.
“Wherever RWAs were found to be working to their optimum capacity, we have continued to retain the maintenance of parks with them and wherever this was not the case, or there were some internal issues within the functioning of RWAs, we have recommended transferring such parks to the MCG ward committee. The list has been compiled and shared with senior MCG officials for their perusal,” said Devender Bhadana, executive engineer, horticulture wing, MCG.
According to a senior MCG official privy to the matter, a final decision on the matter would be taken next month, once air pollution levels in the city stabilise and the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) measures reduce.
The maintenance of parks and community centres has remained a major point of contention between RWAs and MCG.
On January 10, during an MCG meeting, all 35 MCG councillors unanimously approved the decision of taking back the maintenance of all parks and community centres, citing lack of upkeep, from RWAs both verbally and in writing.
A week later, around 60 RWAs had submitted a memorandum to Gurugram member of Parliament Rao Inderjit Singh, protesting against the MCG’s decision. The matter became political, with several Haryana politicians also opposing the MCG’s decision on social media and calling for protests.
Subsequently, MCG set up a regulation and monitoring committee to oversee the functioning of parks in the city, while the decision to take back all parks and community centres from RWAs was dismissed.
There are 60 community centres in the city, of which 22 are maintained by RWAs and 38 by the MCG.
This was not the first time that the MCG initiated such a move. Last August, councillors during a House meeting, citing lack of maintenance, had raised the issue of handing over all parks from RWAs to MCG’s ward committee.
“The decision by the MCG to take back parks that are not well-maintained from the RWAs is a positive move as it will ensure that the standards and upkeep of parks remain at a high level. However, the MCG should consider introducing the practice of rewarding RWAs that maintain parks at the highest standard with monetary incentives as it will push more RWAs to increase the standard of their parks to even a higher level, similar to the system they have adopted for property tax targets,” said Dhruv Bansal, spokesperson, Gurgaon Citizens Council, an umbrella body of RWAs in Gurugram.
In May 2017, seven RWAs were rewarded Rs 5 lakh each for ensuring that more than 80% of residents in the area paid their property taxes to the civic body. Under the same criteria, two RWAs were also rewarded with Rs 5 lakh each this September.