So far, tenders have been issued to appoint contractors to develop five of the plots, civic officials said. However, considering that there are only two months left for the financial year to end, the task of preparing, floating and finalising tenders for the rest is virtually impossible. Subsequently, a large amount of the money that was allocated for the open spaces is likely to lapse.
“It is sheer negligence the huge sum will go unused. This questions the commitment of the administration in maintaining and developing open spaces for citizens,” said Ameet Satam, BJP corporator and member of the civic markets and gardens committee.
He also suggested that the administration streamline the tendering process to expedite work. “Multiple departments such as gardens, planning and design and municipal architect are involved in planning for the gardens. This also causes a lot of delay,” Satam added.
Activists, however, said the BMC first needs to frame a larger policy to develop gardens in the city.
“There is a need for guidelines to be framed first. Funds often tend to be spent extravagantly to develop theme parks. Citizens just want clean and secure open spaces. A framework of norms that can regulate concretisation and construction is needed,” said Neera Punj, convenor of CitiSpace, an organisation that works for open spaces in the city.