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Get rid of caretaker policy: Citizens

india Updated: Jul 04, 2009 02:16 IST
Bhavika Jain
Bhavika Jain
Hindustan Times
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Citizen groups from over the city gathered on Friday to voice their opinions against the vacating of the stay on the controversial caretaker policy.

According to the caretaker policy, private players can carry out development on open spaces.

The state stayed it in 2007 after private developers started to flout norms by leasing the open spaces for commercial purposes, charging higher membership fees and not keeping the ground accessible for public use.

Friday’s meeting was held as a response to Mayor Shubha Raul’s decision to move the High Court to vacate the stay on the caretakers policy.

The groups are going to meet the Chief Minister Ashok Chavan at the earliest to discuss the issue.

“We want the CM to clarify that a stay on the caretakers policy doesn’t stop the civic officials from doing their job of maintaining the city’s open space,” said Nayana Kathpalia, co-convenor of Citispace, a NGO battling to save the city’s open spaces.

They also want to know what the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to do with the Rs 5 crore that has been allocated to each ward in the budget to maintain and secure the open spaces.

“We want the policy to be abolished. And demand that the BMC should maintain these plots,” said Neera Punj, convenor of Citispace.

“When huge amounts of money allocated for development of these open spaces, then why do they want to privatise it?” asked Punj.

They will also approach local representatives to add momentum to the movement.

“We will remind them that while voting for the upcoming Assembly elections we will remember what these candidates have done to save our open spaces,” said Gerson D'cuhna, trustee of Action for good Governance and Net-working in India (AGNI).

The political pressure to vacate the stay is building as some of the open spaces were allotted to trusts run by politicians from the Saffron alliance.