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Wasteland to Picnic Spots? Pune shows the way !

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In the climate of disappearing greenery that used to drape our cities, 2 examples from PUNE gives a ray of hope that still it is not too late to undo the damage. Pune’s eyesores of yesterday are the cynosure of all eyes today.

In Today's Hindu, there is an article written by M A Siraj on how Osho Ashram and Azam Campus has converted a wasteland into a beautiful picnic spot.

Courtesy - M A Siraj, The Hindu

Osho Teerth in Pune’s Koregaon Park. The tastefully laid out Japanese-style garden behind the Rajneesh Ashram today stands as a significant milestone on this trajectory. It was a piece of barren land. A nala ran through it carrying black sludge. A lot of used oils was also being disposed into it by the nearby railway yard. Human waste from a nearby slum also flowed into it. Putrid wastes emitted foul smell. Residents in the surrounding areas complained but the Pune Municipal Corporation did not know how to de-pollute it and restore life to the vacant land that skirted the Ashram.

But today the area hosts the Osho Teerth, a visual treat with superabundance of verdure. Mangroves ring it all around the periphery. Roses bloom and lotuses smile. Water streams gurgle, fountains spray water and sprinklers kick up mist, allowing sunrays to descend into a rainbow. Bamboo thickets attract birds and lakes have swans floating on their silvery water. Stream cascades down into pools which harbour fishes in myriad colours. The view is particularly stunning from the monolithic stone bridges across the central stream for those who preserve the memories of the old site. The change is breathtaking inasmuch as visitors let out a wondrous gasp at the first sight of the luxuriant garden.

Curiously, the second experiment in the direction also comes from Pune. The man behind the transformation is Peerpasha Inamdar, the secretary of the Azam Campus which hosts nearly 25 educational institutions in the heart of the city’s Cantonment area. During the last decade the Campus administration has turned a virtual municipal dustbin of an area into a pleasing park.

It was practically a no man’s land sandwiched between the campus backyard fence and a congregation ground used only on two days annually. A 20-ft. wide canal coursed through it bringing drinking water to the city of Pune from Khadakwasla Dam on Mutha river. Boys from the nearby localities took a dip into its cool and pristine pure water, least aware that the water was meant for drinking purposes.

Inamdar eyed the opportunity that lay just behind the campus he was transforming. He got the area landscaped into a park. Canal embankments were planted with grass. Trees were neatly pruned. Walls were painted with murals by artists from the Fine Arts College on the campus. A couple of iron bridges across the canal came in handy to connect with the campus as well as enhance the looks. A couple of gazebos and a handful of stone benches have altered the ambience beyond recognition.

Not merely this, the iron bridges have enabled the college to put to use this ground as a shooting range. What better use for a ground that lay unused for 363 days of a year! Efforts paid dividends too. One of the shooting trainees, Anisa Sayyed from the Girls College on the campus, won the nation a gold medal in the 2009 Commonwealth Games. comment guidelines

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