They are allowed to collect user and entry fee; lights, gardens, amusement equipment, toilets lying in disuse

Tiruchirapalli City Corporation Council on Friday decided to hand over maintenance of public parks in the city to community groups and women self-help groups.

A decision to this effect was taken at an urgent meeting of the council with A. Jaya, Mayor, in the chair. Conceding the need to improve the upkeep of the public parks in the city, an official resolution that was approved by the council, said the infrastructure such as lights, gardens, amusement equipment, and toilets have been lying in disuse in many of the parks because of the absence of personnel to maintain them.

The corporation now plans to identify community (comprising residents of the respective areas) or self-help groups to maintain the parks. Initially, the parks would be handed over to the groups for maintenance for three years. The civic body would post watch and ward staff and groups would be vested with the task of maintaining the parks, including the gardens and other infrastructure. The corporation will not pay the groups any salary.

However, they may be gradually allowed to collect a user fee of Rs. 50 a month or Rs. 2 a person as entry fee to the parks. The groups will be allowed to put up milk kiosks through Aavin or other agencies.

The council approved a resolution to relocate all the 66 traders of the Vazhakkai Mandi functioning adjacent to Gandhi Market, to the Viragupettai Overhead Drinking Water Tank complex, where the necessary infrastructure will be developed.

Answering a query from M. Mohamed Mustafa of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Corporation Commissioner V.P. Thandapani said the OHT complex had adequate space to accommodate the traders.

The council gave its nod for constructing a new commercial complex by demolishing the diamond jubilee building, an old toilet complex, a two-wheeler parking lot, and a few shops in front of Gandhi Market as part of the civic body’s initiative to renovate and redevelop the market.

However, the move was strongly opposed by Syed Ibrahim (independent), who sought to know the fate of the 200-odd traders currently at the diamond jubilee building and wondered whether they would be allotted space at the new building or given alternative sites. Corporation officials contended that no trader had been allotted shops at the building and only platform shopkeepers were allowed to carry on their business there on a first-come-first-served basis every day.

Mr. Thandapani said measures were aimed at relieving the congestion around the market. However, alleging irregularities in the move, Mr. Ibrahim staged a walkout from the meeting.