Angul: Eco Park in Angul town, a dream project of the district administration, has been out of bounds for people since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The administration recently turned down the town denizens’ request to allow them to go for morning walk inside the park.
The park has presently become a hunting ground for anti-socials and drunkards. They have been visiting the park regularly and indulging in booze sessions and picnics. This has raised many eyebrows.
Eco Park has been regarded as the district administration’s dream project. The park houses several facilities including a gymnasium and boating facility.
The park has been designed to attract people from out of the district. The administration insists that the park will be opened when the pandemic situation improves.
But the fact that the park has turned into a hunting ground for anti-social elements has baffled many.
According to some local people, most evenings they see people carrying liquor bottles and polythene bags entering into the park and coming out at night after enjoying booze sessions and picnics.
At the canteen inside the park, there are utensils and all the items required for picnics. Empty liquor bottles and paper plates can be found lying here and there inside the park on any day.
According to senior citizen Radhakant Mohanty, common people have been denied entry into the park. Even those who have availed membership for a year have not been allowed inside.
“But, we came to know that people are regularly doing picnics inside the park. This is pathetic and the officers who are in charge of the park are responsible for this. The administration should take immediate action against those involved,” Mohanty said.
When contacted, the authorities of a private organization that is managing the park on a contractual basis said that there are some employees who are taking care of the park. Food is being cooked at the canteen for them.
The organisation did not have any satisfactory answers regarding the liquor bottles.
In this regard, former chairman, Angul municipality, Akshay Kumar Samant said that the allegations should be investigated.
When contacted, executive officer, Angul municipality, Binod Chandra Panda said that he would visit the park to see for himself if people are enjoying themselves inside. If any proof found, action will be taken against the contractual firm that is in charge of the park’s management. If required, higher authorities will be informed for cancellation of the firm’s license.