Mumbai: Barely 2-years-old, Malad park in wretched state

Mumbai: There was a furore at the markets and garden committee meeting of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) over a point of order raised by Congress corporator Wajid Qureshi, on the dilapidated state of Chacha Nehru Park, Malad (W).  The garden was opened in 2017 and shortly after, it fell into a state of neglect. The opposition has blamed the contractor, Landmark Corporation, which has already been blacklisted by the BMC for its shoddy nullah cleaning work.

The security wall of the garden, the children’s play units and benches are all in a state of disrepair. “This is due to the usage of poor material by the contractors,” said Qureshi. Why was the contractor issued the work, despite having been blacklisted for nullah-cleaning, Qureshi asked.

After receiving complaints, a vigilance committee was appointed to look into the issue. After its visit to the park on April 20, 2017, the committee came up with a list of 21 observations. The committee noted the use of substandard material, failure to stick to the plan, non-installation of basic facilities and lack of maintenance after completion of the project.

Qureshi particularly pointed out the issue of a wall in the garden, which was in a state of collapse. “The wall has developed a huge crack and may fall any time. Is the administration waiting for an incident?” he asked. After the committee’s visit, the site was visited by the markets and garden committee chairman Haji Halim Khan.

The Free Press Journal has a copy of the letter he wrote to the mayor, Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, on June 1, 2018, requesting him to look in to the matter. Mahadeshwar had then written to the then deputy commissioner, vigilance department, Prakash Kadam, on June 8, 2018, to enquire in the matter. But no action has been taken ever since.

On the point of order raised by Qureshi, Khan said, “I have asked for a revised recommendation list in a month’s time. If any discrepancies are found, then we will blacklist the contractor (Landmark Corporation) and they will forfeit their deposit of Rs 40-50 lakh.” Qureshi has demanded a criminal case be lodged against the contractors. “Blacklisiting has not been a a deterrent. We demand a criminal conviction, which would set an example for others,” he said.

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