The vice-chairman of the DDA Monday said he will visit Delhi's iconic Coronation Park, which has been subjected to years of neglect and vandalism and missed several deadlines for completion of its redevelopement project.
"I have not visited the park, but it is one of the biggest parks under our jurisdiction, and we will certainly take it up, and won't it let it be in that condition," DDA Vice-Chairman Tarun Kapoor said in response to a question.
Interacting with reporters at the Vikas Sadan here, he also announced that the urban body would soon launch a competition on the upkeep of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) parks, and said, winners would get cash prizes.
PTI had recently reported on the pitiable condition of the park, with unkempt lawns, graffiti scrawled on the Coronation Pillar and panel walls, and garbage littered all around.
"I will certainly visit the Coronation Park and take stock of the situation," Kapoor said.
The Coronation Pillar is a monumental obelisk that commemorates the Coronation Durbar, which presently wears a defaced look, as couples visiting the park located in northwest Delhi's Burari area, have etched their names and drawn hearts on it.
The grounds where the Durbar was held has for decades been termed as a "graveyard of statues" as iconic Raj-era statues, including that of King George V and four Viceroys, were unceremoniously dumped here post 1960s, after which they were subjected to defacement and decaying amid thick vegetation.
King George V and Queen Mary were coronated as the emperor and the empress of India on December 12, 1911 at a spectacular Delhi Durbar, where the British monarch had also announced the shifting of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi.
The heritage site falling under the DDA saw decades of neglect until it was taken up by the Sheila Dikshit regime to be redeveloped, and work was to be completed by 2011 to coincide with New Delhi's 100th anniversary.
But the DDA, after missing several deadlines since then, has only managed to landscape the area, even though the grass has lost its sheen, while the history walls erected in front of the statues of the four viceroys -- Lord Hardinge, Lord Irwin, Lord Willingdon and Lord Chelmsford -- lie neglected, incomplete and defaced.
At the press conference, Kapoor said that competition on park upkeep will be held in two categories -- parks of size 5-10 acres and those of 10-50 acres.
"We are introducing a limited competition, and in the first round 22 parks will be up for competition. The parks would be adjudged on various parameters -- condition of fence, landscaping, green cover, tress and shrubs, walkways and amenities. A committee will assess the entries and cash prize would be given to winners," the vice-chairman said.
"If we get good response, we can expand the category, from those who maintain to include contractors also, who work on parks," he added.
According to DDA, there are 700 parks under its jurisdiction, and prominent ones include, Coronation Park, Swarn Jayanti Park (or Japanese Park) and Indraprastha Park.
On the proposed 80-ha Bharat Vandana Park in Dwarka which has been delayed for years, he said, it is to be developed as another iconic park.
"One plan was prepared for it. We recently discussed it at various levels. The NBCC has been asked to jointly work on it, and with their officials I visited the site about a month ago," he said.