Is Mumbai’s first citizen under pressure?
Mayor Shubha Raul has decided to get clearance for the controversial caretaker policy on open spaces, apparently under pressure from the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
On Wednesday, Raul took the decision to challenge the state government-imposed stay on caretaker policy in the high court, after a meeting with Sena-BJP leaders.
“I was being asked to call this meeting for a long time,” Raul said.
The move has evoked strong reactions from citizens.
“We will not forgive if any politicians take over public land for private use,” said Citispace, a non-government organisation, in a letter addressed to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
“There are very few open spaces remaining in the city. If the stay is vacated, we all will be doomed,” said Nayana Kathpalia, co-convener of Citispace. “The caretaker policy means no good for the public.”
Some of these open spaces were allotted to trusts run by politicians.
These included the Matoshree Club at Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, Kamala Vihar Sports Club at Kandivli, Prabodhankar Thackeray Krida Sankul and Swimming Pool at Vile Parle, Prabodhan Krida Bhuvan at Goregaon and MIG Club in Bandra besides others.
“Development of many open spaces is restricted due to the stay on the caretaker policy and hence we demand the stay be lifted,” said Ravindra Waikar, chairman of the standing committee who owns the Matoshree Club.