Madurai

People-run Walker’s Club looks to improve facilities

The public at the Walker's Club at K. K. Nagar in Madurai.

The public at the Walker's Club at K. K. Nagar in Madurai.   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

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‘We are planning to deepen the tank by collaborating with residents welfare associations’

A very few parks in the city are maintained solely by users and residents clubs. The Vandiyur park at K.K. Nagar is one among them.

Spread across a 2.2 km area, this park lining Vandiyur tank sees bright bits of greenery during the day and dim illumination at night. It is maintained by Walker’s Club, a 972-member fraternity that actively fixes flaws and keeps the park running.

The club, established 31 years ago, sees a variety of stakeholders, including walkers, students preparing for for various exams, skaters and people lounging at the park for fresh air. The park has a dedicated play area for children, six shuttle courts and separate open gymnasium for men and women. It also has seating arrangements through the stretch.

S. Ramalakshmi, who regularly visits the park, says that it is one of the few open spaces for relaxing. “While my son skates, I sometimes read or just watch around. It gives me a change from the everyday routine,” she says.

Club president A. A. G. Rajkumar says that he is elated by the growing number of youth coming to the park each day.

He attributes it to two reasons. “Youngsters today are very health conscious and it’s wonderful to see them run every morning. This reinstates our belief that the park will continue to be citizen-run in the future too,” he says.

Despite the park being a citizen-run initiative, one can still see piles of plastic and litter in various parts. Mr. Rajkumar says that despite the presence of 15 garbage bins in the park, it is still hard to drive home the message that waste should be discarded in bins.

The ban on single use plastic has not prevented public from using it. The barbed wires lining Vandiyur tank carries piles of plastic bags of different colours. Mr. Rajkumar says that he has appointed a cleaner who is occupied throughout the day.

“Everyday there is a birthday party at the park and those who finish the celebration do not care to clean up the surroundings. They leave behind streamers and cake boxes. We also have other litter that people leave behind to clean,” he says.

Open urination is another problem faced by them, the club members say.

In order to combat these problems, the club has built toilets for men and women on the campus. They are also planning to establish more bins through sponsorship and are also planning to instal signs at every 100 metre reminding people to keep the park clean.

To check the entry of antisocial elements at night time, the clubs plans to instal a high-mast lamp on the southern end of the park. It also has eight security cameras and plans to instal more.

The club is planning to deepen the tank by collaborating with residents welfare associations. “We’ve spoken to the district administration but so far it has not taken any steps. So, we would take all the responsibility on our shoulders and ensure that there is enough percolation in the tank. This way, the groundwater gets recharged better,” says P. Ponrajan, secretary of the club.

The club has been steadily planting trees to increase shade, the office-bearers say. “Unless people take maintenance in their own hands, they will not know what the flaws are and what needs to be fixed. More such parks should be started with the help and support of the local body and the district administration,” they add.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 10:49:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/people-run-walkers-club-looks-to-improve-facilities/article26518355.ece

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