Two decades on, Mumbai civic body to be a good sport, will let kids play at Bandra garden
Mumbai civic body to take back Linking Road garden from NGO, which banned sports to maintain grassmumbai Updated: Sep 19, 2017 01:17 IST
Raosaheb Patwardhan garden in Bandra, which has been shut for children wanting to play in it for more than 20 years, may soon open its gates for sports activities.
At the 4.6-acre public garden, which is one of Bandra’s oldest open spaces, children were being turned away for years from playing sports. It is likely to be reclaimed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) from the NGO that maintains it.
Residents of the area had raised the issue a few years ago but their complaints only fell on deaf ears of the civic body until recently. Khar resident Aftab Siddiqui, who had complained to the civic body about children not being allowed to play sports in Patwardhan Garden, said, “I asked the BMC to fix separate schedules for walkers and kids in the garden but they paid no heed. We have been fighting for this issue for the past 4-5 years now.’’
Siddique had also collected more than 400 plea signatures of those affected in the area to request the BMC in August to open up the garden. Assistant municipal commissioner of the ward Sharad Ughade said, “We will be taking back the garden from the organisation soon. Hence, people of all ages will be allowed to use the space.”
The BMC has taken back 176 open spaces in the city from private entities since 2016 and has 40 more spaces left to take back. The reclamation drive is a part of the new open spaces policy.
Citizens said Khar Gymkhana is the only other place where people can go to play sports. Aamir Shaikh, 30, said, “In my childhood, I never got to play in Patwardhan garden. All children from Khar and Bandra went to Khar Gymkhana, which is the second closest. You can imagine the space crunch there.”
When HT spoke to the staff maintaining the garden on why football or any other competitive sport is not allowed in they said the well-kept grass gets ruined and someone else in the park may get hurt.
BMC officials added that the foundation is willing to surrender the garden for construction of an underground parking lot, which is in the final planning stage and officials added that the garden would be reclaimed from the foundation within a few months.
Jinit Patel, a student of Thadomal Shahani Engineering college, who visits the garden daily, said he has never seen students play sports in the park. “It is the only centrally located open space in Bandra (W). It is maintained very well but they could have separate timing for those who want to play sports and those who want to walk or sit,” he said.