Water fountains outside three Navi Mumbai railway stations lie neglected
The water fountains that were built outside Vashi, Juinagar and Nerul railway stations turned into an eyesore due to lack of maintenance.
Once they enhanced the beauty of the area.
The fountains were built in the early 1990s by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco).
They had built four water fountains outside Vashi and Juinagar railway station and a small fountain surrounded by a 20-foot-tall stone sculpture outside Nerul station.
According to sources from Cidco, around Rs 10 lakh was spent to build the fountains and the sculpture.
A senior Cidco official, on condition of anonymity, said, “We had asked the railways to take over those structures and maintain them a few years ago.”
“However, they refused to do saying they do not sufficient budget for it. We have decided to repair and maintain them on our own phase-wise,” he said.
“We will cover one station in one phase. At present, our priority is to complete the renovation work of Belapur and Vashi station complexes. So, we cannot say when the repair work of the structures will start,” the official said.
When the structures were newly built, they were the city’s landmarks. They were popular among film makers and featured in most Hindi films.
According to railway sources, Cidco has neither repaired nor maintained them for the past 20 years.
The fountains at Vashi and Nerul are filled with dirty water for the past several years. They have also turned into a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“After developing the structures, Cidco had assigned the task of maintaining the fountains and the sculpture to a bank. However, the contract with the bank expired after five years and nothing has been done to maintain the structure since then,” said a senior railway official from Navi Mumbai.
Railway officials said they cannot do anything about it, as the structures do not fall in their jurisdiction.
AN Singh, manager of Vashi station, said, “The railway officials are responsible for taking care of platforms and not the areas outside the station premises. Therefore, we cannot directly ask Cidco or any other agency to repair and maintain the water fountains.”
“However, like us, Cidco officials are also aware of the issues created by the deserted structures. Taking the matter into consideration, they should take requisite measures,” he said.
Residents said the space which the structures occupy could have been used for useful purpose such as parking.
Mangesh Patil, 45, an activist from Vashi, said, “If Cidco was not ready to maintain these fountains and sculptures, they should not have spent taxpayers’ money to build them.”
“Every railway station in the city is facing space crunch. Very few of them have sufficient space for parking vehicles. If the structures had not occupied the space, probably those could have been turned into parking lots,” he said.
The deserted area around the structures are not well lit and unsafe for people passing by.
Vrushali Shinde, 36, a daily commuter from Vashi, said, “The deserted structures outside the station have become havens for anti-socials. It makes travelling unsafe at night. The authorities should use the space for public amenities. The structures have been neglected for a long time.”