No more grabbing of pavements in the name of roadside gardens. Mayor Subrata Mukherjee has ordered the demolition of all civic and private gardens eating up pavement space.
Also, in a bid to check the funds drain, municipal commissioner Debashis Som has ordered director-general (civic) Uday Sengupta and all borough executive engineers not to sanction money for roadside gardens as part of the city’s beautification programme.
Som has even directed them not to complete ongoing garden construction projects. According to the civic engineering department, the total number of such gardens under construction is no less than 25.
In the first phase of the gunning-for-gardens operation, the civic conservancy department has demolished two dozen roadside gardens on Chittaranjan Avenue, B.K. Pal Avenue and at Sovabazar.
“I know there is a craze for roadside gardens, but I am helpless. I don’t know how the former CPM board allowed this huge wastage of the tax-payer’s hard-earned money,” the mayor said on Thursday. According to Mukherjee, such gardens are of no use and end up blocking the pedestrians’ path. Civic conservancy chief Rajib Deb said over 1,500 roadside gardens have sprouted over the past 15 years.
Most of these roadside gardens are in Calcutta proper, between Cossipore and Tollygunge. A large number of such gardens have been identified on Rashbehari Avenue, Gariahat Road (South), APC Road, Amherst Street, Ganesh Chandra Avenue between Hind cinema and Mission Row, Sundarai Mohan Avenue, Lalmohan Bhattacharjee Road and Theatre Road.
“They have come up with financial assistance from the borough fund or the MP local area development fund and pose a huge hurdle in the clean-up operations,” added Deb.
Mayor Mukherjee said it was better to clear up the mess on the pavements than to think about the amount that had been spent to create it. “Just because a certain sum of money has been spent on creating hurdles for pedestrians, it does not mean they should be allowed to remain there,” he said.