South Delhi: Resident Welfare Association Claim That Public Parks Are Being Used For Political Activities
People dwelling in GK – I E block and S blocks in South Delhi are reportedly witnessing the misuse of political powers by the BJP workers against the Resident Welfare Management (RWA) body. Generally, the members of the RWA body do not hold a political post and are elected in every two years, where mostly senior and middle-aged citizens are chosen for the welfare of the block. However, that was not the case for the E and S blocks which underwent a sequence of incidences.
E-block loses its park
A couple of months back, E-block’s RWA body witnessed that their colony park was snatched and was allegedly given to a set of political workers who had recently registered themselves with “Registrar of Society” and formed a parallel RWA. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), which is a civic body allegedly cancelled the agreement with the elected RWA and gave it to the ‘’newly formed society’’, without any show cause notice or field survey. The parallel RWA has already organised few political events in the E-block’s park, by inviting political leaders as chief guests. The colony park had been under the elected RWA over a decade but witnessed a change in hands.
It is alleged that the motive behind such an act is to siphon the fund flowed to RWA under the PPP Scheme for maintaining parks. A resident of S-block (under cover of anonymity) told to The Logical Indian that the newly formed floating body is hindering the work of RWAs by filing court cases or lodging police complaints. The resident told us that the scenario in E-block is going to repeat in the S-block and that they were on the verge of illegally losing our park
Petition committee finds wrongdoings
To fight back, E-block filed a complaint with the Petition Committee against SDMC officials for squandering Public Funds to benefit public workers. The case came for hearing in the petition committee where Deputy Director and Assistant Director Horticulture (South), and Deputy Commissioner (South) arrived with all recordings. Within an instance, the committee found several anomalies in the File Notings. SDMC officials were asked about the take over of the park from elected RWA and handing over to a parallel RWA. Later on, when the on-site inspection took place, where the Chairman of Petitions Committee, Saurabh Bharadwaj with other members went to check the condition of the park and to hear out the new caretakers of the park. They said that previous RWA exploited the park by organising commercial programs.
When The Logical Indian reached out to two SDMC official, they refused to comment on the matter. The team contacted Saurabh Bharadwaj for a comment and he said, “SDMC under some political pressure has handed the park to some BJP workers.” He further said that when the SDMC came up with papers, they found several flaws. “We have sent a questionnaire to the Deputy Commissioner of SDMC, Nidhi Srivastava to understand on what basis they have handed over the park to a six months old society,” he further said.
Few months backs, the S-block organised “Teej” a function where women put up stalls and paid a nominal sum to the elected RWA. Soon after the event, S- block received a letter of complaint form SDMC stating that the event was an illegal one. Ironically, three months after this, the workers went ahead and organised events in the S-block park where BJP members were invited and stalls were put up.
The resident from the S-block claims that the SDMC Chairperson, Shikha Rai, a BJP supporter is allegedly making attempts to hand over the colony parks to the parallel RWA team. “She is trying every possible way to snatch the beautiful parks from the blocks and use it for a political purpose, ” the resident added.
RWA Team in S-block standing on its ground clarified that the park of the S-block is under Delhi Park and Garden Society (DPGS). However, SDMC is pressuring them to take away the park from RWA on the ground of events (such as Teej) and give it to a private party. “SDMC is compelling DPGS to give the park of S-block to a private party. RWA spends nearly Rs 9 lakhs to maintain the parks, and the parallel RWA is after it, ” added the resident.