Parks are great places to meet new people and spend life in the lap of nature. But in Nalgonda, they are a picture of neglect with even instructions from top officials going unheeded.
The Nalgonda municipality had identified 64 open spaces in 40 wards of the town to be turned into parks, and nine of them got sanctions under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) till 2016.The Centrally-sponsored scheme for improving basic urban infrastructure, under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, had sanctioned 75 lakh and ?1 crore for the oldest parks in the town — Rajiv Park near N.G. College and YSR Park in Ramnagar, respectively. Another 25 lakh was given for an abandoned park opposite the District Collector’s bungalow, to turn it into Prof. Jayashankar Memorial Park.
But in over three years, the progress has been abysmal. “Rajiv is 30% complete, YSR is waiting for technical sanction and Jayashankar will start soon,” say officials.The AMRUT mission, through green space and parks, to improve amenity value and quality of life, also remains a non-starter in the seven neighbourhood sites. “Every time one enquires about its progress or an official comes for inspection, they show the old parks and cite the same reasons. The District Collector and the Commissioner have visited the empty spaces twice, but nothing has changed since,” said a councillor.
The total sanction of the seven parks is just the equivalent of one Rajiv Park –75 lakh, and yet, the spaces continue to be used as parking lots and are mostly left unused by people at large.Executive engineer (Municipal) Venkateshwarlu says the works were delayed from the contractor’s end for which he was served a notice. “Most works — bores, gates, toilets and gravel-filling — are complete. Paveways and landscaping will be done soon,” he adds.
But for the select ward councillors and residents here, the municipal official’s reasons are “as old as the sanction”. They also rejected his claim about a fund crunch, as the Ministry releases instalments as per State Annual Action Plans.