SHAIKH JAMALUDDIN | NT
CAMPAL: The Children’s Park at Campal, also known as the Bhagawan Mahavir Bal Vihar, draws a good number of picnickers from far and wide, especially on weekends and holidays. Children also come with their parents, mostly in the evenings, to use the play equipment in the garden and spend recreational time there.
Although the central area of the park is in fairly good shape with ornamental lamp posts, multiple play equipment and benches showing signs of upkeep, besides timely watering and trimming of ornamental plants, there are a few slots in the garden that wear a look of apathy. This apart, the river side stretch of the park has become susceptible to erosion.
However, to elucidate on the neglected part of the park, the lake has been left dry and pedal boats that once formed an attraction are out of sight.
If one enters the garden from the main entrance next to the Forest Restaurant, the statue of Mahavir Jain stands amidst green lawns and ornamental plants. There is a 2-3 metre-wide track for joggers but it is hardly utilised for the purpose and instead college students are found lazing around till late evenings.
Around 50 metres away, the river front of the garden has become an ideal spot for couples and due to presence of many such people families and children avoid spending time in the garden in the evenings and after the sunset, the garden gets frequented by female sex workers. There have been instances wherein children and their parents have found couples cozying up openly in the garden.
Adjacent to the Children’s Park is an Art Park that was inaugurated by former chief minister Pratapsigh Rane. The Children’s Park is one of the longest parks available for the citizens of Panaji but it is in need of attention from the authorities for its further upkeep and a check on undesirous activities.
The corners of the garden also have heaps of logs lying unattended, while pavers of joggers track have started disintegrating. Besides human visitors, stray dogs are also seen walking amidst people in the garden.
Dinesh Salgaonkar, a visitor to the park, said that “it is sometimes awkward to see couples sitting around. The forest department needs to maintain the garden properly.”
Naveed Shaikh said that the government should do something to stop erosion of the river front of the garden or else the garden will fall into ruination.