In what seems to be becoming a pattern, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has failed to acquire yet another open space at Vile Parle on time and is now wondering whether or not to buy it.
The civic improvements committee is undecided over purchasing the 1,054-sq-metre plot that was partly reserved as a recreation ground (RG) and partly for public housing. The plot, which is full of encroachments, is in possession of Pareen Corporation.
Advocate AH Chheda, on behalf of Pareen Corporation, issued a purchase notice of Rs 3.34 crore to the BMC on June 21, 2010. "The plot is adjoining a nullah and does not have access. It has been fully encroached upon and is not worth Rs 3.34 crore," said improvements committee chairman, Manoj Kotak. "The committee has to decide whether the BMC should pay and acquire the plot."
Shiv Sena corporator Jagdish Sawant said although the plot has been encroached upon, the BMC should acquire it because it is the corporation's duty to make open spaces available.
The decision has been put on hold until the next meeting in the third week of January. Kotak and a few other committee members visited the plot last month. "The civic body is spending crores on acquiring open spaces but we don't know that how many plots of those are developed [as parks or playgrounds]," Kotak said. He directed the administration to submit a report to the committee about the current status of reserved plots.
The civic body has routinely delayed acquisition of open spaces. On October 12, it cleared a proposal to buy a Mazgaon plot for Rs 2.58 crore on the last day of the deadline. On August 3, it cleared a proposal to purchase two plots in Dahisar for Rs 13 crore, a day before the deadline to buy them ended.
Except the Sena, corporators from all parties lashed out for encroachment on open spaces. Nationalist Congress Party corporator, Vidya Chavan, said: "Slums come up on public places because of a nexus between slum mafia, civic officials and corporators."
Corporators, Jagdish Sawant and Yashodhar Phanse, objected to Chavan's statement. Corporator Mangesh Sangle, group leader of the MNS, demanded a special meeting to discuss encroachments.