The beautification plan for Altamount Road is the latest in a long list of public spaces sought to be developed by citizens.
So far, Carter Road, Juhu Beach and Malabar Hill have been — or are in the process of being — transformed by citizens’ initiatives.
According to Anandini Thakoor of the Khar-Bandra-Santacruz Foundation, which gave the city a walkway on Carter Road, it’s all about getting involved with local issues. “We formed a forum which worked for the vicinity’s development. We got several complaints about encroachments on Carter Road, so we thought of beautifying it,” she said.
The Juhu Citizens’ Welfare Group (JCWG) followed the same model by drawing up a beautification plan for Juhu Beach along with architect PK Das. Over 40 per cent of the beach had been encroached upon in 2006. Today, it is among Mumbai’s best-maintained seafronts. “There were hawkers everywhere, garbage all over the place,” recalled Hansel D’Souza, JCWG president.
Forming an Advanced Locality Management (ALM) helps push your ideas. It is a framework designed to enable citizens and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to work together. Indrani Malkani, of the Malabar Hill Residents’ Association, is a strong supporter of BMC-citizens partnerships. “The first step is to check whether your proposal is needed and feasible. Then, initiate a dialogue with the authorities and conceptualise a joint plan so that even they are interested,” said Malkani. This was how Brand Malabar (see chart alongside) was born.
The Altamount Road Area Citizens’ Committee is the latest to come up with a plan for its area. The Rs 5-crore proposal is awaiting BMC approval. “When citizens became involved, such proposals become possible,” said Shirish Shah, convenor of the plan.