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Will city corporation rope in private parties for maintaining parks?

K. Jeevan Chinnappa
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There are 354 parks in MCC limits, and the corporation maintains 191 of them

Sad state:Herds of sheep and goats grazing in the space reserved for a park at Lakshmipuram in Mysore.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM
Sad state:Herds of sheep and goats grazing in the space reserved for a park at Lakshmipuram in Mysore.— PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

That the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) is planning to hand over maintenance of parks coming in its jurisdiction to private parties has been doing rounds time and again. However, such claims have only remained on paper.

There are 354 parks in MCC limits, of which it maintains 191. Maintenance of around 50 parks has been outsourced, and the agreements regarding some is going to end soon. The MCC might renew the agreements, MCC Commissioner M.R. Ravi told The Hindu .

The corporation recently held discussions on handing over development and maintenance of parks with private players under public-private partnership model, he said.

Private parties had agreed to maintain two parks and a circle, Dr. Ravi stated. The MCC, however, intended to hand over at least five parks at a time to private agencies. Dr. Ravi said that maintenance of the parks involved huge expenditure. The absence of an Assistant Director of Horticulture in the MCC hampered maintenance works, he added.

The Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) too has been talking of park development, but the plans are yet to materialise. Spaces meant to develop parks had been vandalised at many places. Dumping of debris in the spaces was another major cause for concern. The best example for this in recent times is the People’s Park here.

A deplorable case of abuse of space conserved for creating parks is the Double Park at Lakshmipuram. While on one of the spaces, students regularly played cricket, nomads were residing on the other. A herd of sheep and goats was found grazing in the park, where a water tank was built under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) some time ago. Both these parks are surrounded by residential apartments and houses, but pleas to develop them by residents have fallen on deaf ears.

The MCC tried to rope in the public in developing parks sometime ago. Under the concept, the government would contribute a substantial portion of funds if citizens made the initial contribution. This proposal, however, did not elicit much response.

Dr. Ravi said the concept of creating urban forests was also being considered, which required zero maintenance.

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