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
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.