Litter-free zone… really! How Nizampet's Haritha Haram park has become haven for boozers

Despite complaining multiple times, the municipality has not responded. The residents say that the municipality has not turned up to the park for maintenance even once.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  17 May 2022 5:54 AM GMT
Litter-free zone… really! How Nizampets Haritha Haram park has become haven for boozers

Liquor bottles and broken glass pieces welcome you at the entrance of Haritha Haram park in Pragathi Nagar of Nizampet. Debris and other construction waste litter both sides of the road. Inside the park, invasive weeds block the walking track.

If you want to stroll in the evening, watch out for a group of men sitting and drinking. An outsider might not even recognize that it is a park. A signboard lying in one corner. This is the state of a Haritha Haram park in Pragathi Nagar. It is more of a drinking spot rather than a public park.

According to the residents, Haritha Haram park was refurbished and reopened in October 2021. Till February 2022, it was open but afterward, for unknown reasons it was closed. A week ago, it was again opened only to find the board removed. A big hole was drilled in the park, which the residents allege, is being used by people for drinking.

"We first complained to the Nizampet Municipal Corporation (NMC) in May 2021. Subsequently, complaints were registered in June and September. When they didn't respond, we started cleaning the area. We have been doing it all this while. But now, the authorities feel that the residents will solve the issue on their own and are inactive," says Sai Teja, a social activist who lives in the area.

A few days back, Sai was hurt after a glass piece of a liquor bottle pierced his leg.

"They don't remove the bottles. I have removed it at least 3 to 4 times. They come in groups of three and four mostly in the evening, drink, throw the bottles there and leave," says Bheem, another resident.

Interestingly, some even come in the broad daylight to drink, say residents.

The newly dug out place inside the park to sit and drink

Small things, big consequences

"Mostly, these people work at some construction projects nearby. Some are auto-rickshaw drivers who come to pick and drop. Sometimes, auto drivers come here and drink after dropping a passenger. Once they finish drinking, they ferry college students. It is scary. What about the safety of students?" asks Sai.

Residents ask whether the concerned authority is waiting for something bad to happen to take action.

Sai's friend Srinivas Bellam who lives close by occasionally visits him. He has also seen people sitting and drinking on the premises.

"The aftereffects of drinking are dangerous. A boozer will not be in his senses and this could lead to crimes. There are many such small things in our society due to which bigger crimes happen. Small things like these should be controlled to avoid big consequences," says Srinivas.

No more fresh air for women

Bheem says that because of these groups, the park has become unsafe for women who go for an evening walk. "It's summer and it is very hot inside our homes. People, especially women, go out in the evening for a walk. But because of the drinking menace, women have stopped their evening walks. And how do we confidently send our children to play there?" asks Bheem.

Poorly maintained walking track

Despite complaining multiple times, the municipality has not responded. The residents say that the municipality has not turned up to the park for maintenance even once.

When the residents dial 100 and complain, a constable visits the area but fails to take any action. Instead, they feel for these people. "Chhod does use, bahar jaake peene ka paisa nahi hein" Sai clearly remembers one of their responses but he points out that the police officers are not bothered about these people's life thereafter (after drinking).

Interestingly, one finds a lot of boards placed by NMC in Pragathi Nagar that read "LITTER FREE ZONE, FINE UPTO 1000/-"

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