Chennai: S Muthuraj, State Information Commissioner, made the observation while hearing an appeal filed by RTI applicant Vinoth Kumar. “Closing parks during the daytime is not a solution at a time when pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders require places to rest during summer,” he observed.
Muthuraj also directed the superintending engineer (buildings and parks) of Chennai Corporation to send a circular about opening and closing timings of parks to the staff concerned. The copy of the circular should be sent to the commission as well as to the appellant. Appellant Vinoth Kumar filed an RTI petition with the civic body seeking details of parks and play fields, details of workers, working timing and other details in 2020. But no details were provided.
At the hearing a few days ago, Kumar pointed out that parks are being closed at 11 am and requested the commission to get an explanation on why this was being done. “Several appellants pointed out that the parks are closed from 11 am- 3 or 4 pm. This practice might have been followed during the pandemic but need not continue now,” Muthuraj observed, adding, that staff at the park cannot take decisions. It should have been done based on council resolution or orders from senior officials.
The civic body also passed a resolution to fix penalties against contractors who fail to maintain the parks as per tender conditions. Based on the size of the parks and shortcomings, the civic body will impose Rs 2,500 to Rs 10,000 fine. Earlier, 0.1% of the contract value was imposed as penalties per violation per day. At present, the city has 718 parks and 163 roadside parks.