The Sant Dnyaneshwar Park at Andheri (West), located in the Azad Nagar post office lane, had been calling out for attention and action. Locals who use the park for their morning and evening walks and recreation pointed out the poor state of the garden. Some tiles on the walking pathway shook like a loose tooth, ready to fall off.

“People are in danger of tripping and falling, and in fact have to look down to where they are stepping while walking or they might trip and if fast, even sail through the air before falling,” said senior citizens, when this reporter visited the park early morning. There was one toilet, which gave off an odour, and was locked from one side. “It is unusable because it is very dirty,” said the walkers.

Apparatus has broken seats

A visit to the children’s play area showed the apparatus like swings and a slide with some missing parts. Some gaps were wide enough for small children to fall through. There was a tall sky lamp or light in the middle of the park which was also out of order. Residents spoke in one voice as they pointed to gaps in the equipment and the light which is dysfunctional, which they claimed plunged the park into darkness early evening. “Darkness falls quicker now as we are moving towards the end of the year,” they pointed out.

The exercise equipment installed in one part of the ground was broken in parts. Several benches on the property were in shambles and had rods poking out from the sides. Residents stated, “security has been largely ineffective.” They spoke about the need for the BMC’s garden department personnel to make a site visit and see the state of this place. “The walkway is hazardous. The rods from the benches can pierce somebody… and senior citizens need a usable washroom.” Several locals pointed out the fact that citizens have had to highlight this dilapidated state, “but officials should already be in the know and working on it”.

A view of the garden space

Local Anand Shirali said, “I remember a couple of years ago, I used to bring my daughter to this park and the play equipment was in good condition. Today, it is dilapidated to the point of being dangerous. Why is there no response to several complaints? There are problems, yet none are insurmountable. We need officials or supervisors to come in here, first of all, assess the situation and then work quickly 
on solutions.”

Work begins

After a call from this reporter, pointing to the shoddy state of the garden, the K-West ward garden department personnel, said, “We will ensure an inspection and post that, action will be taken and problems addressed.”

Walkers point to a broken bench in the garden. Pics/Anurag Ahire

Padmakar Vaidya and other senior citizens stated that development work “has started at the garden. We are thrilled that there has been a response and problems are being addressed. We will see equipment that is repaired and functional, along with intact benches for rest. We also hope that there will be enough bright light in the evenings for us to enjoy the space.”

While there has been action, the ward officials needed to be questioned by this newspaper and the plight of the open spaces brought to their notice after which the ball started rolling. Now, this should be a welcome festive facelift this Diwali for residents who frequent the space.

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