Vijay K. Saluja 
Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi
& Ex Chief Engineer[civil], New Delhi Municipal Council
DDA park in Sector 22 Dwarka, located near Manish Mall has been declared during DDA Garden Festival-2011, the best maintained park in Dwarka. It has also been declared the 2nd best maintained park in the whole of Delhi!
I, live very near to this park & visit it, every morning for my morning walks. I have observed that its popularity among the residents have increased, over the time. Now every morning & evening, the park is frequented by large number of men, women, young boys & children.

In the morning, senior citizens of neighbourhood who are members of an association-`Sukh Dukh ke Sathi` assemble regularly for morning walk, exercise, yoga & then chit chat. It is very heartening to observe that members of this group take very active interest in the maintenance & upkeep of the park. They co-ordinate closely with the horticulture staff of DDA & receive active cooperation from the supervisor & his team of malis. Close rapport is also maintained by them with the seniors of the supervisor. This has resulted in a very healthy work environment, responsible for better growth & upkeep of the said park.

To motivate & felicitate the staff, a function was organized by Dwarka Forum in association with Senior Citizen Group when token prizes were distributed to the supervisor & his staff. It appeared, it made the staff very happy as subsequently, much more enthusiasm & regularity of the staff was noticed. This led to better care of the flower beds, grassy lawn & the flowering trees.

On 5th June, the World Environment Day, the Senior Citizen Group again organized a function where tree plantation was done by the members of the Group along with the staff & senior citizens. A Painting Competition for the children of the staff was also organized., which was followed by prize distribution, refreshment & a photo session.

Some of the local papers carried the news along with the photographs of the function. Cost of the function came from the contribution of the Senior Citizen Group.

A small but caring & thoughtful gesture & wise step of the local active senior citizens & Dwarka Forum has helped a great deal in motivating the staff of the civil & horticulture departments of DDA.

The result-Better maintained Park with flowers in bloom & flowering trees is giving joy everyday to the residents/ visitors to the park. Though there are some areas like upkeep of play equipments, shops, footpaths & clearing of dust bins which need more regular attention. But, I am sure, the initiative & drive of the Senior Citizen Group & other visitors to the park, it will be possible, to get the needful done as close rapport with the authorities now exists & bond will go stronger by the day.

Residents living in other sectors of Dwarka/ parts of Delhi can take a cue from this example of active/ thoughtful community participation in the maintenance of civic infrastructure. For the authorities, too, this is a good example of complementary effort of the citizens, which can be replicated elsewhere, too.