Citizens’ groups oppose move to help clubs | india | Hindustan Times
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Citizens’ groups oppose move to help clubs

india Updated: Jun 30, 2009 01:12 IST
Amrita U Kadam

The civic body’s decision to revive the controversial caretaker policy has united the citizens’ groups against the move.

Citizens’ groups have decided to come together to try and stall the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) “anti-citizen policy” to let off the eight clubs provided they pay up the due amount along with the penalty.

The policy, which the BMC is attempting to revive, was given a stay in November 2007 following a huge public outcry against it.

Members of H-West Citizens’ Trust in Bandra-Khar-Santacruz, along with non-governmental organisation Citispace, will hold a meeting on Friday to decide on the next step to counter the BMC’s move.

Hindustan Times has been highlighting the issue of open spaces since 2007 when the BMC had decided to give away 49 open spaces, each above 15,000 sq m, roughly the size of four Oval Maidans, directly on caretaker basis to private parties, denying access to citizens.

As per the caretaker policy, the private players can build clubs on 25 per cent of the land, and the rest is to be kept open for the public.

“We have always opposed this policy and we will continue to fight against it. There is no use of the policy if the caretaker does not pay the dues and if he does not let the public use it,” said Anandini Thakoor, chairman of H-West Citizens’ Trust.

“The foundations and trusts are more like white collar land-grabbing mafia, which in conjunction with the builders and politicians, run the clubs for profits,” said film producer and social activist Ashok Pandit.

Suggesting that the anti-citizen policy be scrapped, another member of the H-West Citizens’ Trust and secretary of AK Vaidya Nagar Citizens’ Association, Vidya Vaidya, said the clubs should be handed over to public.

“The policy which just favours the politicians and not the citizens, should be repealed,” said Anil Joseph, civic affairs chairman of Khar Residents Association.