Nagpur: The beautiful park for children, the Children Traffic Park or say Traffic Park in common parlance, is an excellent entertainment-cum-picnic spot for residents across the city in general and the nearby localities in particular. However, now-a-days, the Traffic Park, situated on VIP Road in Dharampeth, is being shunned by a lot of decent families as the spot is rapidly turning out to be a den for illegal activities that too under the nose of top police and NMC officials. The park inside has become a hub of illegal commercial activities and outside arena has become a sort of ‘haptha’ recovery from dozens of ‘thele wallahs’ by the cops and contractors. The role the Municipal Commissioner and Police Commissioner playing as ‘mute spectators’ to the ‘goings on’ raises many an eyebrow.
It may be noted that an old contractor, a relative of a local corporator/ partner, having taken up the work of the Children’s Traffic Park, had malafide intentions since beginning of the work. Giving a trivial amount to NMC as official charges, he started commercial activities at the park and collected unjustified amount of money. The said contractor, as part of his nasty design, first stalled free entry of nearby residents. Later, he set up over two dozen commercial rides, entertainment centres, food courts, and other facilities. The rates of these entertainment tools are the costliest in the city. The contractor is illegally collecting a sum in lakhs per month as rent from more than two dozen shops and commercial establishments inside the park.
On the other hand, the outside arena of the Traffic Park is ‘money-minting machine’ for the contractor. Over three dozen unemployed youths installed a horde of thelas serving a variety of eatables to the visitors to the Park. But these ‘thela-wallahs’ are running their businesses at the whims and fancies or say at the mercy of the contractor. They have to shell out Rs 1200 ‘haptha’ per thela per month.
However, apart from the tricky contractor, more trouble was in store for the thela owners. The Traffic Police, hoping to have a share in the pie, too started ‘demanding’ moolah from them obviously for running the business illegally on the roads nearby the Park. However, considering the double whammy would have been a dent in their earnings, the thela-wallahs refused to part with the ‘haptha’ to the traffic cops.
The refusal left the men in white and khaki furious and they started evicting the thelas from the arena, of course in the name of clearing the hurdles in smooth flow of traffic. As a result, the thela-wallahs have been removed from the spot nearby the Traffic Park. No doubt, the move is welcome in true sense of action but the background is shadowy. Now, since the past 15 days, the arena nearby the Traffic Park is bereft of haphazard thelas and facilitating parking of vehicles of visitors to the Park. Now, where the thela-wallahs marched and encroached is a moot point to ponder and another sorry state of affairs in the entire sordid episode as well.
Though a lot of fuss is made about Nagpur being a smart city, the Traffic Park has reportedly become a hot spot for hooligans who create ruckus on regular basis under the influence of liquor, at times consumed near the park or even inside the park, making life miserable for residents. A reality check found how a mockery has been made of law and order which bans people from drinking in public places.
Some residents grudgingly said that a pious place has become a den of antisocial elements.
Even during the day, they are seen openly standing on the roads and causing nuisance, while women hesitate to pass by these areas, pointed out a resident.
– Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( email@example.com )