Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) is preparing ground to give a facelift to Sivaji Park. At a meeting organised by the GVMC with various stake holders here on Saturday, Municipal Commissioner B. Ramanjaneyulu unveiled a plan to convert it into an amusement park.
The park that occupies about 16.5 acres in the heart of the city was opened to the public in 1999. Prior to that, it was a dumping ground for debris and waste material. The park was created by the then VMC with an expenditure of Rs. 3.5 crores with three fountains with illumination, one amphi-theatre and a skating rink. Between 1999 and 2002 the park attracted about 2,000 to 2,500 visitors on a daily basis and over 10,000 on weekends. Today, neither it is frequented by visitors nor the park is in shape.
The Commissioner agreed that most of the attractions were in a dilapidated condition, despite GVMC spending about Rs. 80 lakhs annually for it maintenance.
“It is all public money that is being spent, without any generation of income. And that is the reason why we intend to give it a facelift by adding some amusement values,” said the Commissioner.
Giving details, the Commissioner said there was a proposal for setting up various zones such as water recreation zone, mechanical zone, computer games zone, health zone, food court, light and sound shows, cultural zone, ice park, and knowledge park.
The stake holders, comprising persons from all walks of life such as residents, architects, environmentalists and businessman, raised questions regarding the loss of greenery and ownership rights. A few even suggested to convert the park into a botanical garden.
Clarifying their doubts, Mr. Ramanjaneyulu said that it was just a preliminary discussion and no amusement item would be set up at the loss of greenery. And as far as right of ownership was concerned, ‘no right of land' would be given to bidders. “We will only give a licence to run the show.”
Talking to The Hindu after the meeting, he said that this was just the beginning of a deliberation. “After getting the feedback, we will summarise the details and put it in the public domain for views. After satisfying every aspect and after consulting the ward committee we will proceed,” he said.
The Commissioner also said that there was a proposal to develop the 30 acres of public park at Mudasarlova on same lines and it would be taken after the Sivaji Park venture.
“Vizag is a growing tourist hub, and we need to think of creating such facilities both for the residents and the tourists. And we intend to create them so that they are within the reach of common man,” he added.
On the upcoming projects such as the flyover and the BRTS, he said that the flyover would be ready within three months and the BRTS would be over by the end of 2013.