Dadar’s Five Gardens set to turn a new leaf
01 Apr 2018
Much-needed restoration plan being finalised after residents and civic body settle their differences
The three-year tussle between Dadar’s Five Gardens residents and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) over the restoration of the iconic parks ended recently with a consensus and some compromises. Residents had been opposing the civic body’s renovation plan claiming it would be unsparing on the parks’ green cover and strip the parks of their quaint charm. At a meeting last week, municipal officers assured residents that their suggestions will be incorporated into their plans.
Five Gardens, the only open space for residents in Dadar, Matunga and Wadala was laid out around 80 years ago. Sections of the gardens now need urgent restoration but residents and municipal officials have for years disagreed on what should be done to restore the gardens’ former beauty. Earlier, residents had opposed a proposal to turn the gardens into a theme park with water pools and skywalks connecting them. Residents also objected to other proposals like creating cement and granite-lined pathways because they believed it would destroy the garden’s organic look.
Since the gardens are a protected heritage precinct, residents do not want any drastic changes in the layout. “All we want is to retain the greenery,” said resident of Dadar Parsi Colony, Mehernosh Fitter.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Kurhade said, “We will meet municipal architects to lay out the final plans and incorporate the suggestions made by the residents into the new plan.”
Among the suggestions made by residents are new park benches to replace the unsightly cement seats. Even though they had earlier opposed a playground there, residents have now agreed to let one of the gardens to be used as one. However, the proposal to build a bandstand in the central garden has been summarily rejected.
“There was a bandstand earlier but we have opposed a new one because one could only get to hear loud film music,” said Engineer. Earlier plans for a food court too have been scrapped.
The BMC has agreed to allow the residents’ group to replace the new fencing around one of the gardens with old-style fences. Zarine Engineer of the Mancherji Eduljee Joshi Colony Residents Association said that the new railings were incongruous to the quaint gardens and were high maintenance. “If the BMC does not replace the fencing, we will do it. When we said we are ready to bear the expense, there was apprehension from some residents,” said Engineer.
Local corporator, Raghunath Thawai said, “Now that the dispute over the restoration has been mostly resolved, we are waiting for a clearance from the heritage committee so that we can start the work.”
Kurhade said that while the cost of the project is still to be finalised, bids will be invited for the project soon.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT 5 GARDENS
- No Bandstand
- No food courts
- One of the gardens will be retained as a playground.
- New fencing in one garden to be replaced by low height railings.
- Garden benches to replace concrete seats
- Paving stones on pathways nstead of concrete.