Citizens’ groups laud CM’s support for open spaces | india | Hindustan Times
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Citizens’ groups laud CM’s support for open spaces

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s statement that the municipal corporation should protect and maintain the open spaces in the city comes as welcome news for citizens’ groups.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2009 01:27 IST

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s statement that the municipal corporation should protect and maintain the open spaces in the city comes as welcome news for citizens’ groups.

Chavan’s statement comes a day after representatives covering over 20 citizens’ groups, led by NGO Citispace decided to meet the CM on the issue and ask for some respite.

The citizens’ groups want the municipal body to protect the public spaces instead of handing them over to private parties for upkeep.

“We want the civic body to protect and maintain all open spaces like recreation grounds, playgrounds and gardens,” said Vidya Vaidya, Citispace member from Bandra.

The groups also felt that a survey of open grounds should be done and considering the needs of the locality, the areas should be developed by the municipal body.

Anil Joseph, of the Khar Residents’ Association, said: “Like if some localities need a swimming facilities, a pool can be built.”

In 2007, the state has stayed on BMC’s plan to hand over 49 open spaces, each above 15,000 sq m roughly the size of four Oval Maidans, to private parties through its caretaker policy.

On June 17, Mayor Shubha Raul expressed her intention to go to court and lift the stay on the policy. This alerted citizens, who came together yet again to protect open spaces.

Hindustan Times, from November 2007, has been highlighting the issue. If the caretaker policy is implemented, it will mean giving exclusive memberships to public spaces, denying access to common people.