24th Nov, 2017
THANE : More than seven months after completion, the ambitious and first-of-its-kind bio-diversity park along Saket Road still hasn't been thrown open to the public. This is because the officials haven't received an appointment by the forest minister to inaugurate the park.
The forest department has been instrumental in turning the stretch, which was earlier like a dump yard, into a green belt. So, they are insisting on getting the park inaugurated at the hands of former forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.
However, the senior minister is believed to be having a busy schedule. Moreover, the minister would be away in Nagpur next month to attend the winter session of the state legislature.
Locals said that the growing neglect of the planted saplings could render the place inhospitable.
The late Uttam Rao Patil Bio-diversity Park was initiated by former Thane collector Ashwini Joshi in February last year. The massive dumping ground was turned into a nature centre and park and work was completed by mid-April this year.
The park has a levelled ground, comprising of bamboo plantation, butterfly garden, medicinal garden, plant nursery, rose garden, Nakshatravan, mangrove walkway, nature information centre and so on.
NEERI's Pytorid project, which purifies the waste sewage water flowing into the creek and makes it good enough to be used for watering these plants, also became functional early this year.
While this unique park has been ready but out of reach for visitors for the past six months, many have started pointing out that it has started showing signs of neglect and all the money spent on it would be futile.
"Having a garden in our claustrophobic city is extremely crucial for our health and the health of our children. We have been waiting for this park since the day the plan was initiated and work began. We were thrilled that this park not only would give our children a place to play, but also teach them about water purification, plant species specification, etc," said Anil Sathe (41), a Saket resident.
"However, we are still waiting for them to inaugurate the place. What is worse is that we took a walk alongside the park and noticed that many saplings were dying, while many others were running wild. At some places, the paver block pathways were broken," Sathe added.
Meanwhile, forest officials claim that they are yet to inaugurate it due to the unavailability of dignitaries including the forest minister.
"This is a huge achievement for the forest department as well as the collectorate and we are really working on setting a date for the inauguration at the earliest," said a district official.
Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com