Iconic foun­tains at Vashi now tell a story of ne­glect, ap­a­thy

NMMC spent lakhs to de­velop the chowk in 2008, but failed to main­tain it

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Shivaji Chowk at Sec­tor 17 in Vashi, a land­mark of Navi Mum­bai, is a clas­sic ex­am­ple of the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion’s neg­li­gence to its own iconic con­struc­tions.

Built in Septem­ber 2008, the three beau­ti­ful foun­tains of the chowk, had been an at­trac­tion of the town till a few months ago. The dried and de­funct foun­tains now tell a story of ne­glect and ap­a­thy.

The civic au­thor­i­ties used to make the foun­tains more at­trac­tive with colour­ful lights ev­ery evening ever since the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the chowk. How­ever, since Novem­ber last year there is nei­ther wa­ter nor lights there.

Sev­eral peo­ple from across Navi Mum­bai come to the chowk to at­tend pro­grammes held by NMMC, city po­lice and other non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions al­most ev­ery week. Apart from this, ex­hi­bi­tions of pho­tog­ra­phy, age-old weapons among oth­ers are also held there very of­ten. In spite of that the civic body has not done any­thing to main­tain the chowk in the past three to four months.

“Be­cause the mar­ket area came up at Sec­tor 17, the bus de­pot ad­ja­cent to the cir­cle and nearby Vish­nudas Bhave Au­di­to­rium, Shivaji Chowk has be­come a prom­i­nent land­mark of Navi Mum­bai. It’s sad that the civic body is not pay­ing at­ten­tion to this,” said He­mant Sharma, 45, a res­i­dent of Vashi.

Safety and se­cu­rity of the equip­ment at the chowk has also mat­ter of con­cern. De­spite hav­ing se­cu­rity guards, two rag pick­ers stole light bulbs from one of the foun­tains last year. The po­lice later ar­rested both of them and re­cov­ered the bulbs.

“The NMMC spent lakhs of ru­pees to de­velop the chowk. If they can’t main­tain it, they should not have spent tax­pay­ers’ money,” said Pearl Somiya, 27, an­other res­i­dent of Vashi.

Ma­hen­dras­ingh Thoke, ward of­fi­cer of Vashi, said, “It is true that the foun­tains at Shivaji Chowk are de­funct for the past few months. Our en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment is plan­ning to re­pair them and it would be done soon. We have de­ployed six se­cu­rity guards at the chowk.”

De­spite re­peated at­tempts, ex­ec­u­tive en­gi­neer of NMMC, Vashi divi­sion, was un­avail­able for com­ments. The colour­ful foun­tains at Shivaji Chowk at Vashi’s Sec­tor 17 were in­au­gu­rated in 2008. Now, they have turned into ugly struc­tures.




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