If you happen to visit the MIDC colony located in Mumbai’s Andheri East region sometime in the evening, a pleasant sight will welcome you – a lush green garden with about 100 different varieties of trees, people enjoying their evening walks, and children playing in a football court.
But the scenario would have been completely different if you had visited the same place before the year 2006 – it was an unnoticeable barren land.
Welcome to Vrindavan Park. This plot, about 1.2 acres of land in MIDC colony, was handed over to Maheswari Nagar Federation and Sterling Court Housing Society in 2006 by the civic authorities. It is one of the many plots reserved under Mumbai’s development plan for creation of gardens and parks by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“As per the rules, the municipality is supposed to maintain the garden, but nothing was happening. We approached them and said that members of our society, which has about 600 flats, will maintain the plot. They agreed and gave it to us in 2006,” says P. Sriganesh, a resident of the society and one of the founding members of the committee that looks after the plot.
Members of MIDC colony were enthusiastic about the project and they got together to contribute in all possible ways. One of them is an expert in landscaping, another has a lot of knowledge about different plants and where to find them, and many others who didn’t know anything about gardening learnt more about it over the years.
“Today, that barren land has become a garden that is envied by most societies around us,” smiles Sriganesh.
The society members have worked for the development of the garden for about 10 years now. And every house contributes a sum of Rs. 1,200 per year for the maintenance of the plot and salaries of two gardeners and a security guard.
Prior to taking over the land, the society members had also asked the municipality for permission to create vermi-compost pits on the plot, where about 150 kg of garbage is treated every day.
Today, after almost a decade of taking care of it, the society had to hand over the plot back to the municipality. This happened because of a sudden change in policy as some of the reserved plots in the city were being misused for other purposes like construction of clubs, etc. The society members are still actively maintaining the land and are concerned about its plight once the municipality takes over completely. But their spirit to fight for open spaces and make their vision turn into reality, deserves a salute.
Have a look at their magnificent garden.