Less than a month ago, a group of enthusiastic and idealistic Nagpurians had contributed funds and sourced help from friends to put up many dustbins by the Futala lake side so the sight of garbage strewn around wouldn’t offend visitors and create an unhealthy atmosphere. The Mayor Mr. Datke had come to over see the setting up of the bins and inaugurate the first one by ‘throwing some garbage’ in it.
In conversation with the group who had done all this, he had assured that he would ensure that NMC ‘safai workers’ would empty out the filled bins at least once a day if not twice though this area is under NIT and not NMC jurisdiction.
Today, NT called up one of the group members to know if their project of ‘clean Futala’ was going well.
He laughed mirthlessly.
“Yes, so well, that the bins themselves have been cleaned out. Out of the 50 bins put up – and also fixed permanently to the spot 80% have still been stollen. That is 40 bins gone. The ten that are still there ( God knows for how long?) are overflowing with garbage that has not been emptied by NMC workers even once.”
So much for assurances given in front of media and cameras! And the lavish praise lavished on the ‘Clean Nagpur’ group who spent their valuable time, effort and money to do this in the cause of their city.
This is not surprising at all. It is symptomatic of all that is wrong with our execution of excellent plans. It’s a sign of all that is wrong with Futala itself.
Futala lake front – the ‘chowpatty’ of Nagpur had become a favourite family spot for Nagpurians when it got its new avatar.
That was about a decade ago. Then some five years ago, the city got more ambitious and decided to give out space to restaurants and allow advertisements.
The implementation and the alleged irregularities led to a court case, the result of which is still awaited but meanwhile the whole spot which was such a lively place for families is slowly turning into a ‘dark place’ in more ways than one.
First of all, after 7 p.m. the lights next to the lake are not operational leaving a pall of dark gloom where walkers would be striding briskly before. Hardly any family ventures down the steps near the water front.
The footfalls have decreased to such an extent that restaurants who set up shop with such enthusiasm have little business to show in the evenings – or even during the day for that matter.
The whole stretch of road has become a haven for anti social elements and youth looking for a spot to consume alcohol, which ironically is strictly prohibited in the restaurants that line the road on the other side.
In the mornings garbage and broken alcohol bottles strewn everywhere greet any brave morning walker who ventures there any more. Yes – the place seems so unsafe that people dare not go there during day light also.
Fights breaking out between the anti social elements who gather there are frequent. Knives come out at the slightest pretext.
It is sad, really sad that we, who used to pride on Nagpur being one of the ‘clean cities’ of India and also a ‘green garden city’ has had its most beautiful spot vandalized like this.
Does no one care any more?
– Sunita Mudaliar