In case you were opposed to the proposed open spaces policy and thought that the civic body would take note of your objections, then think again.
After clearing the policy in June last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had asked citizens to send in their suggestions and objections. Fifty groups had written in stating their views and the civic body even conducted hearings based on the inputs received. However, neither the suggestions nor the objections were forwarded to the civic improvements committee, which is currently taking a decision on the policy.
According to sources, most groups had opposed the policy, especially the caretaker scheme.
"I didn't know about these hearings. We have not been presented with any suggestions or objections that citizens might have presented," said Dr Ram Barot, chairman of the committee.
This omission could have proved costly for the city's green cover. The civic improvements panel already had a meeting last month where the policy had been placed for a decision. However, it was not taken up for discussion.
Shirley Singh from the Juhu Scheme Residents Association, who had written to the civic body opposing the policy, said, "How can the BMC do this? The improvements panel cannot deliberate and take a decision on such a contentious policy without even knowing what the city feels about it?
Activist Neera Punj from the NGO Citispace said, "We will not allow them to approve the policy without hearing us out. I am going to write to the chairman of the panel and apprise him of our objections."
Barot said he would instruct the officials to submit the citizens' grievances. "I will make sure that the suggestions and objections are circulated among members before the meeting."
However, activists are concerned that with just three days to go before the meeting, how the 26 members of the panel would be able to scrutinise the modifications suggested by 50 groups.
Deputy municipal commissioner Milind Sawant, incharge of the committee's affairs, did not respond to repeated phone calls and text messages.