A park, supposed to be the centrepiece of a housing colony, has turned into a dishevelled testament to civic apathy in the city.
AG Colony Park could have been developed as a hangout zone for the thousands of residents of west Patna, including areas like Sheikhpura, Ashiana Nagar, Excise Colony, AG Colony, Friend’s Colony and Magistrate Colony.
But for the past three years, it has been no one’s baby. Neither the authorities nor the housing colony, from which the park derives its name, are willing to take responsibility for its upkeep.
The result: damaged swings and benches, and overgrown vegetation. Decorative lights have been stolen. A fountain that was supposed to be developed remains in a shambles.
The deprivation has not been caused by a lack of funds though. In 2004, Rs 13.88 lakh was sanctioned for the development of the park and its beautification (see chart). When the building construction department wanted to hand over the park of the AG Colony Co-operative Society in 2011, the housing society refused to take the responsibility.
“Why should we take the responsibility of an underdeveloped park?” said Umesh Prasad Sinha, the chairman of the co-operative society. “The equipment to develop the fountain and the lights are kept at the Danapur office of the building construction department. There is no gardener to maintain it, nor a security guard.”
He added that the society does not have the financial strength to look after the park.
The building construction department was completely clueless about the park. The principal secretary of the department, Chanchal Kumar, said: “I have no idea... I don’t think the department maintains any park.”
While the officials split hair over formalities, residents continue to suffer. Ashok Kumar Sinha, secretary, AG Colony Housing Co-operative Society, said: “A huge amount was spent over the park’s beautification. But what happened? It has turned into a ramshackle open space, a wasteland.”