The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation has organized the fourth Garden Competition in front of Inorbit Mall along Sion – Panvel express highway at Vashi on January 23-24. The event aims to increase awareness among residents of Navi Mumbai about spreading greenery in the city.
To ensure participation of individuals as well as institutions, the competition has 24 types of categories. One of its most important categories is the garden maintained by a cooperative housing society.
Balaji CHS and Fam CHS of Sector -11, Koper Khairane have been regular participants in the competition and have been winning prizes.
This year however their forms have not even been submitted because till January 19, the last date for submission of forms no society had been approached by concerned officials of the authority.
Obviously, the event has been poorly publicized and that is why Suresh Mhatre, manager of Balaji CHS was surprised to know that the authority had announced the competition. Since it was the last day of form submission, he said helplessly, “Each year the corporation sends a booklet with application form to us through some or the other means. Accordingly we fill the forms and later their inspectors visit and inspect our society’s garden which is well maintained by us. Fortunately we had won prizes in the first and second year and received certificate and trophy. But till date we are not aware whether last year we had won or lost. An insider had told us that we had stood at the second place, but till today we have neither received any certificate nor any intimation call”.
“But this year the indifference seems to have crossed all limits as we have not even received a single call from them,” he sulks.
Voicing similar complaint Fam CHS manager KGV Narayan says, “It is a clear proof of how carelessly work is done by the corporation. The authorities are least bothered if a consecutively winning society participates or not”.
When the matter was brought to the notice of Chandrakant Tayade, head of the garden department, he assured that forms will be sent to the said societies. He informed that advertisements were released in a couple of newspapers and accordingly they have received applications from 23 establishments which include industries, housing societies, educational institutes and NGOs.
Such a low turnout has raised the question whether low-key publicity was done mistakenly or deliberately. It may be surprising that Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nahata is the chairman, MLA and standing committee chairman Sandeep Naik and deputy mayor Shashikant Birajdar are members of the organizing committee. So the chances of a mistake are remote.
Insiders allege that the department was busy in finding out takers for 55 stalls on the exhibition venue. That is why it failed to reach participants well in time.

—Jaspal Singh Naol

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