BHUBANESWAR: While several beautification projects, commissioned by private companies are crying for maintenance, the state government has roped in several corporate houses and banks appealing them to adopt the city parks for their upkeep.
The Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), which manages 55 parks from its own resources, has sought participation of private companies for adoption and maintenance of major parks like Indira Gandhi Park (10.6 acres), Biju Patnaik Park (23 acres), Mahatma Gandhi Park (5 acres), Syamaprasad Mukherjee Park (6 acres), Buddha Jayanti Park (50 acres) and Kharvela Park (17 acres). At present, the BDA spends nearly Rs 1 crore a year for maintaining parks under its jurisdiction.
Asked what prompted the BDA to canvass for sponsors to maintain the parks, BDA chief horticulturist Ashok N Dhar said, "We saw several private companies showing interest to beautify the city. So we approached them to adopt the parks and maintain them."
Dhar denied funds crunch or staff shortage being a reason for partnering with the private companies. We have so far successfully maintained the parks from our own resources. It will not affect our practice if corporate houses do not partner with us," Dhar said.
At present, the BDA does not charge any user fee from people for visiting the parks. But park-goers apprehend that they might be asked to cough up money if the parks are outsourced to private companies for maintenance. We suspect the move of government partnering with companies would cost us. The companies might generate money from the public to sustain their maintenance funds," said Sovan Pattnaik, a park visitor.
Though the government has been describing parks as major attraction for tourists, security is a major cause for concern. BDA should give priority to strengthen security measures in and around parks that turned into safe haven for anti-socials, Pattnaik said.