A green patch in the heart of the city can well go down the memory lane of veterans as the town planners are yet to identify a garbage-dumping zone except the Hardinge Park.
Ceremonially known as Shaheed Veer Kunwar Singh Azadi Park, the Hardinge Park is one of the major Raj era green arenas still existing in the city.
Ashok Ghosh, a senior faculty member at AN College has been waiting eagerly to relive his childhood memories spent at the park. “Back in the ’60s, I used to go to Hardinge Park daily for morning and evening walks along with my father, as our house was situated near Gardanibagh. I used to see many gardeners maintaining the park. As my childhood memories are attached to this park, I would be happy if it returns to its original shape and opens to residents at the earliest,” said Ghosh.
Ghosh and others like him in the city would continue to be deprived of their favourite green space as the scheme related to its redevelopment is progressing at a snail’s pace. The project, which was to be completed by May this year, is still half way behind target.
Though half of the park has been redeveloped but the work on the rest is yet to start as the civic body has failed to remove mounds of garbage thrown over it.
“Most of the work on the original plan of land-filling and landscaping on the northern flank of Shaheed Veer Kunwar Singh Azadi Park has been completed. However, we are not able to do the same work on the southern flank of the park, as Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) continues to dump garbage collected from the city. We have written several letters to the civic body to stop dumping garbage on the park project site but they are oblivious to the appeals,” said a senior official of Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCo), the executing agency for the park overhaul project. Asked whether the northern flank of the park could be opened for public, the BUIDCo official claimed that a decision in this regard could only be taken by the urban development and housing department.
Shaheed Veer Kunwar Singh Azadi Park is located on either side of Hardinge Road and spread over 20.35 acres. According to the urban development and housing department plan, it is conceptualised to be developed in two parts — 4.04 acres on the south and 16.31 acres on the north.
The work on redevelopment of the park was taken up in October last year.
Though the work progressed on the northern side of the park, the civic body continued to dump garbage on the southern side.
Sources in the civic body claimed that the southern flank of the park has been used as a garbage transfer station for the New Capital division. The waste dumped at the park site are carted away by bigger garbage compactors and discharged at the Ramchak-Bairiya landfill site located on Patna-Gaya road.
It was only two weeks ago that the civic body stopped dumping garbage for a couple of days, during which the boundary wall was put up on the southern side. However, garbage dumping has started again from the past few days despite the new wall.
“The garbage collected from the city on tractors and other small vehicles cannot be directly taken to the landfill site as it would increase the transportation cost. That is the reason why garbage is being dumped at the park project site near the railway tracks from where it is carted away on bigger vehicles. However, we are looking for an alternative spot in the city for garbage transfer station,” said a senior PMC official.
Source in the BUIDCo said a detailed project report for an urban haat on the southern flank of the park is being prepared by a Delhi-based consultancy firm.
“The haat would be a display-cum-sale centre having permanent stalls of handicraft products made in the rural areas of the state and also for trade and commerce bodies from Bihar as well as other states,” said the BUIDCo official. The park redevelopment project is apparently the result of an ongoing lawsuit at Patna High Court. The Hardinge Memorial Fund Trust had challenged an order issued by the district magistrate on October 7, 2005, for resumption of 22.82 acres of the land of the park by the district administration. According to a deed of grant signed in September 1915, Hardinge Memorial Fund Trust was owner of the park land.
During a hearing on July 20, 2007, Patna High Court directed the state government to appoint an expert consultant and prepare a detailed scheme for the development of park in the next three months. However, the plan is far from being implemented leaving residents of the area asking for breathing space.
Shaheed Veer Kunwar Singh Azadi Park
Total area: 20.35 acres
Location: Hardinge Road
South: Delhi-Howrah railway line
West: Serpentine ditch, which runs through the new capital area of PMC
North: Land allocated for a sanitary institute
East: Compound of department of posts
History:September 28, 1913: Hardinge Memorial Committee was constituted by state authorities
September 8, 1915: A deed of grant signed between Patna collector and Hardinge Park Committee for development of a public park as Hardinge Park to be maintained by the committee
January 31, 1916: Hardinge Park opened for public by Sir Edward Gai, who was Lieutenant Governor of Bihar and Orissa then