Rajiv Gandhi Park, Vijayawada

Rajiv Gandhi Park

The State government has “pushy plans” to convert Swaraj Maidan, the only open ground in the city, into a park before the Krishna pushkaram.

But there is already a park that has been in a state of neglect for years. People point to the Rajiv Gandhi Park, one of the big parks in the city, which is a bad shape. Lakhs of rupees have been spent on the park in the name of development. But it stands testimony to official apathy.

The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation, in a bid to provide a pleasant experience to visitors, installed a musical fountain at the Rajiv Gandhi Park. The joyride train, which had been defunct for two years, was repaired and re-launched in 2011.

“Nobody knows what happened to the musical fountain. The joyride train still chugs on, but with poor maintenance,” points out V. Narasimha Murthy, a retired employee.

The VMC spent Rs.15 lakh on the fountain and roped in a private player to operate the train on BoT basis in 2011.

The authorities announced that the musical fountain would be operated from 7.30 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The authorities proposed to spend Rs.3 crore for improving various parks in the city. Renovation of play equipment, providing food courts, and eateries, were some of the proposals. But none of them has seen the light of day.

Spread across nine acres, the centrally located Rajiv Gandhi Park has poorly maintained lawns, walkways, skating rink, and greenery. Not many people prefer to visit it. The bird enclosures too have been closed. None of the entertainment facilities such as merry-go-round, toy jeeps and inflatable balloons, bungee jump functions. Earlier, there was a videogame enclosure, gun-shooting stall, swings and slides for children.

But all of them are either damaged or closed down for reasons best known to the authorities. The VMC cannot wash its hands off the matter by making tall claims of setting up green lawns and flower plantations. The government should focus on the existing parks and see to it they are properly maintained. The government should desist from its plan to develop park at the PWD Grounds, says PCC secretary Kolanukonda Shivaji.