The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 22 , 2014
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New green lung under lock & key

- Hooliganism by students, civic issues prompt Nigam Park to shut gates

In Jharkhand, all good things have a short lease of life, even if it is something as basic as a park.

Ranchi, which doesn’t have too many amusement or entertainment options, lost a precious green lung a week ago when Nigam Park in Morabadi shut gates, thanks to a number of reasons ranging from hooliganism by some students residing at Adivasi Hostel to civic apathy.

On the direction of Raj Bhavan during last year’s President Rule, Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) announced opening of around half a dozen parks with the twin aim of adding more green space and offering amusement zones to the residents. Nigam Park came into existence as a part of that initiative.

Established for over a crore at a 1.5-acre plot besides Sidho-Kanhu Park, it debuted last September while full-fledged operations began only this January with Hot Lips, a catering agency of Kanke Road, given the charge for its day-to-day maintenance.

Boasting manicured gardens, fountains, swings and other facilities, the park, located some 500 metres from Raj Bhavan and chief minister Hemant Soren’s Kanke residence, soon became a favourite haunt of elders and children alike. But the joy was short-lived.

Hot Lips decided to stop allowing in visitors last week because of a number of unpleasant incidents involving the tribal students residing in the Adivasi Hostel, which is located just opposite the park. The latest one occurred last week when the students bashed up a guard.

“Four-five days ago, they beat our guard when he tried to stop them from passing lewd comments at a young couple visiting the park. So, we finally decided to shut down the park after informing our bosses, Srikant Singh, in-charge of the park, told The Telegraph.

He added that the students had been troubling them since long. “Apart from eve-teasing and passing comments at couples, groups of young boys from the hostel would enter the park without buying tickets (Rs 5 for children and Rs 10 for adults). Families who used to come to the park with children stopped visiting because of them,” Singh rued.

Some visitors agreed.

“Every Sunday, I used to take my children to the park, but now we have stopped going there because of the presence of some rowdy elements. The administration failed to ensure its smooth run just like Kanke dam and Dhurwa dam,” complained Kundan Sharma.

Hot Lips proprietor Ranjan Kumar listed a few more hurdles. “We did face many problems and also formally lodged complaints with RMC and the city police. We had also recruited private guards for ensuring safety of visitors. But there is another problem — seepage of drain water from the adjoining ATI building, which floods the park. There are many broken electric wires that can turn risky for visitors. Taking into account all problems, we decided to shut down the park till a solution is found,” he said.

RMC public relations officer Naresh Sinha admitted receiving the complaint from Hot Lips. “If I am not mistaken, we had outsourced the park to Hot Lips for two years. But they don’t want to run it any longer. We are looking into the issues raised and if required, will select a new agency,” Sinha said.

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