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Hawkers, residents to spruce up park

Hawkers, residents to spruce up park Malabar Hill's Kamala Nehru Park plan includes waiting lounge at bus-stop, tourist information kiosks SMITA NAIR Since 2002, there's been a long, hardbound register at the entrance of 
Kamala Nehru Park, the green patch perched stop Malabar Hill. 

And that was just the beginning of a rather unlikely alliance-between the 30-odd hawkers that operate outside the garden and the Malabar Hill Residents' Association.

Now, starting July, the Alliance is planning to 'bring the pride back to Malabar Hill' with a beautification project that will start with Kamala Nehru Park.

''This exercise will put the onus of maintaining the area on the people who use it,'' says Indrani Malkani, secretary of the residents' association, adding that it was the hawkers' brainchild to maintain a suggestion book.

To start with, the terraced garden will get a makeover, with a little help from the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

Following a plan first mooted by the Malabar Hill Residents' Association last September, the outside will first be beautified and the BEST depot next door upgraded-this includes a dining room and restroom for drivers and conductors and a 'waiting lounge' for passengers.

The licenced vendors in the vicinity will also be relocated nearby, in a sort of outdoor food court.

Next, an information kiosk will be set up near the gate, to help tourists and offer information on the history of the garden. A police beat chowkie will also be set up nearby.

The entire exercise is expected to cost about Rs 20 lakh-the residents' associ ation is still working out sponsorship details.

Meanwhile, Ravi Hariyan (28), one of the hawkers, is really excited about the plan.

''We are treated with respect by the local residents, which in turn pushes us to ensure that we help them keep the premises clean,'' he says. ''In fact, I myself have spent many evenings teaching tourists not to litter.''

Publication: IE; Section Mumbai News line; Pg: Front ; Date: 22/6/06.

URL: http://70.86.150.130/indianexpress/Web/Article/2006/06/22/521/22_06_2006_521_008.jpg