200 gardens in the city and Rs 2 crore loss stares PMC
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has sustained an aggregated loss of Rs 2 crore after the closure of its 200 public gardens across the city during the past four months. The garden department garnered a revenue of Rs 1.15 crore during the first four months during the previous fiscal year and its revenue was expected to double starting May when lockdown was announced.
According to the garden department officials, the losses are pegged around Rs 2 crore wherein all the main city and suburban gardens remained shut due to the strict lockdown announced by the central and state governments.
The prominent gardens comprising Rajeev Gandhi animal park, Peshwe park, Katraj lake garden, Sambhaji garden, Seven Wonders garden, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj garden, Aundh rural garden, Pu La Deshpande garden have been the top grossers for the civic body as they attracted huge crowds of elders, children and womenfolk during the summer season and other times.
The city gardens generate cash revenue of Rs 1.25 crore during the summer season. In 2020, the civic body was expecting double revenue but the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic dashed their hopes, garden department officials said.
PMC municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar said, “We are closely monitoring the Covid- 19 situation in the city and gradually opening places of public importance based on the ground situation like in the case of malls and P1 and P2 parking. Similarly, the situation of gardens is also being assessed and a decision will be taken as per the Covid situation in the city. Health of citizens is far important than opening the gardens at this juncture,” he said.
However, on being specifically asked about when the city gardens will actually open, Kumar did not give any deadline for restarting them.
Kumar said, earnings from the garden department are also spent on workforce which maintains the gardens.
RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar said, “Public gardens will keep citizens healthy and social distancing norms and masks are mandatory. When liquor shops and malls are open then why not gardens? Also the gardens are sustaining losses due to the prolonged locking of gardens.”