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Ground gets its greenery back, walkers their favourite space

The city’s landmark has been bestowed its original charm.

The district administration’s diktat to remove the permanent structure of a construction company from Gandhi Maidan has yielded positive results.

The firm, which has been assigned the work of constructing the International Convention Centre, shifted its base from the Maidan to its construction site near Magadh Mahila College.

The Telegraph had earlier highlighted how the Maidan lost its greens after which the district administration had ordered the removal of the company’s permanent structure from the ground.

After a deadline was set, the construction firm vacated the six acres of the Maidan and also removed the barricade from the ground. Now, the portion that was occupied by the company has been opened for common people and morning walkers. Earlier, residents were restricted to visit areas located on the eastern part of the Maidan.

The six-acre space was being used for assembling the structure of the convention centre. Even portable toilets were installed within the barricade but they, too, have been removed. Soil has been filled in the dug-up areas.

Patna district magistrate N. Saravana Kumar said: “The company had to shift its base because concrete construction is not allowed in the Maidan. We found they were doing it. A deadline was set for March 23 and they adhered to it.”

Asked about the new guidelines for the city’s historic landmark, the district magistrate said: “We would conduct a meeting once the Lok Sabha elections get over. We would decide the guidelines for the maintenance and allotment of the ground. A committee has been set up for this purpose.”

The state had spent Rs 8.5 crore for the beautification of the Maidan and the work was completed in November 2012. As part of the beautification drive, grass was laid, a proper drainage system was put in place, pathways for morning walkers were made, sprinklers were installed and new benches were placed.

Ever since the construction company was allotted the ground from the second week of February, morning walkers and a non-government organisation expressed their disappointment on the issue and blamed the district administration and government for the plight of those who visit the greens regularly.

A site engineer of the construction company said: “We did not capture the ground. We had requested (for the ground) the building construction department and they had forwarded the request to the district administration. Only then we were allowed to use the ground. However, we never thought that the district administration would change their stand later. We were provided the six acres on lease for two years but within one-and-a-half month of allotment, we had to vacate the ground.”

He added: “We do not hold any grudge against the state or the district administration. However, shifting the venue would affect our pace of work and the deadline (November 2015) may not be achieved.”

On the other hand, the speculation of not being able to meet the deadline of the convention centre does not matter to those who visit the Maidan regularly.

“We are happy that the area has been vacated. Can you imagine that the construction firm had put up tenements for its workers as if the ground was some kind of dharamshala. Gandhi Maidan is landmark of our city. We will never allow anyone to distort its beauty. There is already a crunch of open space in Patna,” said Subodh Kumar, a resident of Exhibition Road.

How has your life been affected by the construction company’s barricades? Write to us at ttbihar@abp.in