|Park in 2002|
New Delhi, July 11
After a two-decade battle, the residents of Bhola Nath Nagar in Shahdara, East Delhi, have finally managed to get a park in their area freed from the clutches of the local Ram Leela Mandali and they are ecstatic about it.
Finally, there will be some greenery in the otherwise drab residential colony. The children too will be able to romp in the park rather than on roads, as they were forced to earlier with the danger of being mowed down by the traffic.
The park has been finally handed over to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which has acted with alacrity by putting up a board proclaiming its ownership and has also erected a barbed wire fence all around the perimeter, lest some other organisation usurps the prime land. Mr Dinesh Verma, a well-known social worker of the area who played an active role in freeing the park and restoring it to its original form, recalls that the park was called Shalimar Park once. Somehow, about two decades ago, the Ram Leela Mandali started using the open space to organise annual Ram Leelas and Dasehras.
A storeroom was also constructed inside the park and it was reportedly rented out to the residents for organising functions and marriage ceremonies. As a result, the park came to be known as Ram Leela grounds. Only a few old-timers continued to refer to it as Shalimar Park. Office-bearers of the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) alleged that while the park was being usurped, the MCD remained a silent spectator. It was only through their efforts that the park was finally restored.
The RWA office-bearers said that they had sought the help of the authorities to green the park.