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BMC spent Rs 70 lakh to beautify one garden

RTI query reveals shocking facts; local activists upset with BMC.

mumbai Updated: Nov 18, 2010 01:43 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times

The municipal corporation has spent Rs 70 lakh on laying pavements and redoing the lawn at just one of the five gardens at Dadar Parsi Colony.

This is what the residents of the Five Gardens area have found through a Right to Information query.

Upset with the "unnecessary work" and "unjustified exorbitant spending", the residents have now stepped up the heat on the municipal corporation over the controversial Five Gardens beautification project.

"The corporation has been so covert with implementing the project that they did not even tell us what it plans to do. Hence, we had to use the Act to get this information," Activist Nikhil Desai, who filed the RTI query.

The BMC had started work on only one of the five gardens in 2009.

Of the Rs 1 crore allotted for the 4,000 sq m garden, the activists found that the BMC had spent Rs 35 lakh on laying a pavement inside the garden, around Rs 8.2 lakh on the lawns, and the rest Rs 9.2 lakh as miscellaneous expenditure.

Dr Rustom Soonawala, a local resident, "We have been opposing the building of pavements because it will eat into our green cover."

According to estimates prepared by the locals, the BMC's plan to build pavements inside the lush garden would cost each garden a loss of 700 sq m of green cover.

"This means the BMC has actually spent Rs 35 lakh effectively only on reducing the green cover of the five gardens," said Desai.

Zarine Engineer, the granddaughter of Mancherji Joshi, the founder of the Dadar Parsi Colony, said: "The original railings used to give a certain air of dignity to the area and were perfectly in shape, despite being there for 80 years. These new railings were an unnecessary expenditure and damage the aesthetics of the place."

But the BMC maintains that the expenditure is justified.

"These expenditures were incurred after following due procedure. We started work on this garden last year, but for the remaining four gardens, we are in consultation with the locals," said Sanjay Kurhade, F-North ward officer.

First Published: Nov 18, 2010 01:42 IST