Friday, January 15, 2010

Whose interest does the RWAs serve.. of only men or of women, children & disabled too?

Dear Friends,

I appreciate that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi is promoting the citizen's participation in maintaing their surroundings, community parks etc under Bhagidari Scheme of Delhi Government. The money being given away to RWAs is also welcome which could be spent on maintenance of parks. It is a well known fact that unless the communities feel the ownership for public property, it may be difficult to maintain the same and implement various related schemes.

However, be cautious that in absence of control, RWAs are becoming platforms to exert individual egos and working in the self interest of certain few holding offices. There have been incidences of sex biases, class biases and baises on the basis of disability.

The rights of children to play in the park are marred by increasing incidences of ornamental parks being made keeping only the older male walkers in mind. Also during the day whole park is filled with water with no space for women and children to relax or play. These parks maintained at public costs are most of the time inaccessible to children and adults with disabilities, especially for those having mobility impairments, wheelchair users etc.

Are these parks meant only for those few men who sit in RWAs as office bearers?  How many women or children are part of RWAs? Under UN Convention on Rights of children, the Children of the colony should be consulted in matters affecting their rights especially right to play in the neighbourhood park.

The MCD could suggest some ground rules for formation of registered RWAs which could be given such funding. These ground rules could include: Compulsory inclusion of women to 30% (10% housewifes, 10% working and 10% elderly) and compulsory inclusion of Children to another 30% (of both sexes in 15% each) and remaining 40% with men (both elderly those below 60). The functioning of these RWAs needs to be more transparent and democratic.

Also the ground rules should include that these parks should be kept accessible and barrier free for use by physically disabled residents, children and the elderly.

Then only the interest of all could be served otherwise few men would continue to rule the parks in their interest without bothering about children, women and those with disabilities.


S.C. Vashishth
Human Rights Advocate

To read from source click here: Civic agency ropes in residents to maintain parks

Government alone cannot provide effective civic services without residents' participation

Published on 01/13/2010 - 07:44:32 AM New Delhi: The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Tuesday launched a scheme to encourage residents to maintain public parks in their areas.

As part of this public-private partnership, cheques totalling Rs 4,72,817 were distributed to 17 resident welfare associations (RWAs) and two NGOs for the maintenance of 132 public parks under the MCD's purview.

Under the scheme -- aimed at promoting greenery and the involvement of RWAs and NGOs in taking care of parks -- the RWAs will be given Rs 6,000 per acre per month for employing maintenance staff and gardeners.

A MCD official said to IANS the government alone cannot provide effective civic services without residents' participation.

"The MCD may organise a competition of RWAs and award one which displays outstanding performance," the official said.

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