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Parks await facelift

- GMDA plans to add amusement facilities for children in grounds

Nov. 23: Parks in the city will soon have additional play and amusement amenities for children with the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority planning to spruce up the recreation grounds.

“We have invited expression of interest at the all-India level for sprucing up the parks under the development authority, and already, four firms have been shortlisted. The last date for submission of the financial bids is November 26,” GMDA assistant engineer Amitabh Borthakur told The Telegraph.

The authority will first look into the technical aspects of the firms and then take a call on the financial bids before awarding the contract. “Generally, we select only one firm,” he said.

The GMDA has over 20 parks in and around the city, including three in north Guwahati. Not all have playing arenas for children though.

“We have over 20 parks in and around the city. However, only two of them, Nehru Park at Panbazar and Shraddhanjali Kanan near the zoo on RG Baruah Road are maintained directly by us. The other parks, built by us, are taken care of by respective members of the locality,” Borthakur said.

“There is another one coming up at Panjabari,” he added.

Taken over by the GMDA in the mid-nineties, Nehru Park has been converted into a multi-facility recreational ground.

“As of now, there is a need to install additional facilities for children and toddlers at Nehru Park. The only amusement ride we have here is a simulator,” he said.

Shraddhanjali Kanan, developed by the GMDA with the support of Guwahati development department (GDD) two years back, has amenities such as multi-activity play equipment, spiral slide, curve slide, toddler swings, merry-go-round, as well as amusement rides like toy train, swing ship, carousel, and toy helicopter.

“A Thane-based firm, Arihant, had installed the amenities at Shraddhanjali Kanan. Currently, the average monthly revenue that we earn as gate fee is in between Rs 4 lakh and Rs 5 lakh. But that’s hardly enough to maintain the park,” Borthakur said.

Given the real estate boom and subsequent lack of open spaces in the city, parks have become integral to a child’s recreation.

The development authority has also sent proposals for setting up a food park at the recreation space over the underground parking lot on the stretch between Nehru Park and Judges Field.

“Early this month, we had sent proposals for construction of a food court and creation of landscaping in the open space atop our underground parking area at Kachari. Besides, tenders were also floated for leasing out the underground parking area to a new party,” the GMDA official added.