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Another open space lost?

india Updated: Feb 07, 2009 01:22 IST
Sujit Mahamulkar

THE CITY stands to lose about 4,800 sq m of open space as the civic body has passed a proposal in the Improvements Committee to change the reservation of the Recreation Ground (RG) plot into an ‘Auditorium’ in Kandivli (West).

The BMC plot, located near Khajuria Tank Road, was reserved as an RG plot in the development plan.

The proposal, put forward by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kandivli corporator Yogesh Sagar, was moved by the civic administration.

The Congress has said it opposed the change in reservation. Upendra Doshi, Congress corporator and Improvement Committee member, said there was something fishy about the move. “The reservation of Recreation Ground and Play Ground (PG) plots should not change in any case, as the city needs to breathe clean air,” he said. "In this case, the auditorium is not that essential and it is not the BMC’s obligatory duty to build an auditorium for the public.”

Surendra Shrivastav of LokSatta, a citizens’ group, said the reservation of an open space should be altered only after taking citizens into confidence. “Open spaces are limited in the city and political parties always try to pass projects on open spaces that need heavy civil construction, which last 2-3 years,” he said. “LokSatta stands for community participation in such decisions. Unless it gets clearance from local citizens group, the BMC should not decide to delete reservations.”

However, Sagar said that there was nothing suspicious about the move. “People in Kandivli need an auditorium. Since there are two to three large existing open spaces in the area — the plot at Khajuria pond is about 4,000 sq m and there’s another 3,500 sq m PG plot — changing the reservation of one plot won't pose a problem.”

The proposal, passed by majority in the Improvement Committee meeting on Friday, will now be tabled before the general body meeting for final approval of the civic body. After it's cleared at the general body meeting, it will put up for state government clearance.

Joint Municipal Commissioner V. Radha was not available for comment despite repeated attempts to contact her.