In a bid to safeguard and maintain open spaces in the city, municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte proposed the allocation of Rs. 51.33 crore in his budget statement on Monday.
However, questions continue to be raised about the non-utilisation of Rs. 43 crore, which was allocated in last year's budget to develop open spaces in the city.
Kunte proposed the demarcation of open spaces and gardens on the basis of their size and importance as headquarters gardens and ward gardens.
An amount of Rs. 37.18 crore has been provided for 169 headquarters gardens and a lumpsum grant of Rs. 14.15 crore proposed for ward gardens.
"To ensure better accountability in the development of gardens and to ensure that there are enough budgetary provisions for these works, it has been decided to classify gardens and open spaces currently maintained by the gardens department," Kunte said.
The budget has also proposed to map the main features of existing open spaces and gardens as part of the comprehensive green resource mapping. Welcoming this provision, Nayana Kathpalia, co-convenor, Citispace, said, "Across the board, there is need to prepare guidelines to help concerned authorities attend to open spaces and gardens."
Apart from safeguarding open spaces, access roads being created under BRIMSTOWAD for maintaining and cleaning major nullahs and rivers are being proposed for green development to make new public areas available to citizens.
The budget has also made a provision of Rs3 crore for a project to conserve and develop water bodies in the city.
Dr Vidyadhar Ogale, former head of the landscape section, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), said the allocation was critical for the city. "Most of these practices have already been successfully adopted in other countries. But, it is very important to ensure experts are on board to make recommendations while bringing about changes in the green cover," Ogale said.