City’s 260 leisure spots to open at 5 a.m., scrap afternoon closure. Minister for municipal administration and rural development K.P. Munusamy, had set a deadline of December 31 for the Chennai Corporation to finalise tenders and start work on developing parks

City residents will now be able to walk, jog, play and picnic in all of the 260 parks operated by the Chennai Corporation pretty much all day.

Mayor Saidai S. Duraisamy, at a council meeting on Thursday, said the civic body had decided to keep all the parks open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., in order to allow residents to make maximum use of the green, open spaces.

The meeting however, also saw DMK and AIADMK councillors blaming each other for the poor condition of many of the city’s parks.

The decision was taken as a number of residents’ associations had appealed to the Corporation to change their parks’ existing timings. At present, parks are open between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“The resolution of the Corporation is a good idea. More people will be able to use parks now. But the authorities should also take measures to ensure the safety and security of the users,” said Jayaraman, a resident of T. Nagar. “The police should improve patrolling in the vicinity of all parks in the morning and evening,” he added.

The new arrangement, under which the parks will be open for 16 hours as opposed to nine, will be a boon for walkers, as the civic body is also planning to improve infrastructure for walkers.

The Corporation has already finalised tenders for the development of most of the 100 new parks proposed to be developed at an estimated cost of Rs. 22.26 crore in the city’s eight newly-added zones. The civic body will identify plots from among the 265 pieces of land that have been found. Many of the parks are being developed on open space reserve land.

At an inspection a few weeks ago, Minister for municipal administration and rural development K.P. Munusamy, had set a deadline of December 31 for the Chennai Corporation to finalise tenders and start work on all the 100 parks.

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