Should maintenance of public parks be handed over to respective area RWAs?

Public ParkIn Delhi, there are quite a few pubic parks where one can get some fresh air and relax in the morning and evening time. However, out of around 6400 parks, most of them are in a sorry state. Recently, the public parks have started being misused for personal use.

Parks in Delhi, which were essentially created to be used by old people for relaxing and children for playing are now being used for marriages and other functions. This not only restricts the general public from using the park facilities but also degrades the park facilities. It has often been noticed that once the functions gets over, tonnes of waste are left behind leaving the public park in an unhygienic condition.

The law does not allow public parks to be used for personal functions such as marriages etc. In 2009, after an NGO had filed a complaint against Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Development Authority claiming that both were allowing park misuse for personal functions, Delhi High Court had issued strict instructions to both the bodies from allowing any social gathering events in a public park. However, the judgement has been ignored very comfortably and in the peak marriage season, it’s very common to spot marriages etc. being conducted in a public park. No concrete action has been taken as yet to prohibit this practice.

Another major misuse of the public parks is done by people with pets. People with pets use the public park as an execratory ground for their pets. It’s quite a common to see pet owners with their dogs in such parks. Unlike the West, in India, no one is under the compulsion to clean up the mess. As a result, the public park is polluted making it unfit for the local residents and small kids to use the same.

In many areas, parks are not well maintained. It is more of halting place for cattle and stray dogs. In quite a few parks, one can see anti-social elements gambling and drinking in broad daylight obviously making it impossible for a common man to relax and get some fresh air in the public park. All this is a result of utter negligence of the authorities.

The most effective way of ensuring the maintenance of such public parks is increasing greater citizen participation. Handing over the maintenance of public parks to the respective Resident Welfare Association (RWA) of that particular area is an idea that can be mooted upon. Resident welfare associations are active bodies that keep their area/apartments clean for their residents and are always interested in the welfare of the residents. If the responsibility of maintaining the public parks are handed over to respective RWAs, it will be an interesting change to witness in Delhi/NCR wherein the public parks will start being used by the nearby residents for relaxing rather than people with vested interests turning the public park into a marriage community hall.

Source: New Delhi Times