It was once home to hundreds of chinch (tamarind) trees, and even derived its name from them. And in about six months, Chinchwad will be home to another ‘forest’, comprising about 2,500 indigenous plants and trees. Imaginatively named ‘Oxygen Park’, the garden and recreation centre may be completed by Diwali this year, said civic officials. Sprawled across a two-acre area in Chinchwad’s Laxmi Nagar, the project will be developed by the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) of the Union Ministry of Urban Development.
The foundation stone for the project was laid by Pimpri-Chinchwad Mayor Nitin Kalje, along with members of the civic body, last week. “With our cities increasingly becoming concrete jungles, there was a need to add greenery to the area… As much as 80 per cent of the garden will be covered with indigenous trees,” said Rajendra Gawade, a corporator from Chinchwad.
Tenders will be floated to invite nurseries to supply plants, after which the garden department of the civic body will take over charge of the project. AMRUT aims to provide better amenities for urban residents by allocating spaces for parks and gardens, developing green areas and setting up recreation centres, among other steps. The mission is being implemented across 22 municipal corporations and 20 municipal councils in Maharashtra. The Centre is expected to bear half of the expenditure, about Rs 50 lakh, to set up the garden. The state government and the PCMC will share the remaining cost, estimated to be about Rs 25 lakh each.
“A variety of plants and trees will be planted in the garden…,” said a senior official from the PCMC’s garden department. Some of the trees that will soon find a home in Oxygen Park include banyan, teak, coconut, Indian almonds, mango, jackfruit, black plum, gulmohar, neem, peepal, ashoka, papaya, palm, gooseberry and sandalwood.
The park — which aims to be a complete and one-stop recreational park for people of all age groups — will also have a yoga centre, an open gym, a dedicated jogger’s track and children’s play area. Welcoming the move, Shruthi Patil, a Chinchwad-based homemaker, said, “ Since there is no play area in the residential complexes, this garden can be a perfect local destination for family outings.”
On the unique name proposed for the park, Gawade said, “… We need fresh air to breathe, and the objective of planting more trees is to increase the amount of oxygen… we are hoping to throw open the facility by Diwali this year.”