BMC hopes to free open spaces of slums | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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BMC hopes to free open spaces of slums

Hoping to free open spaces of encroachments, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) might bring such encroachments under slum rehabilitation schemes being implemented nearby.

mumbai Updated: Apr 20, 2011 01:53 IST
Kunal Purohit

Hoping to free open spaces of encroachments, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) might bring such encroachments under slum rehabilitation schemes being implemented nearby.

The proposal was up for consideration on Monday at a high-level meeting chaired by Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar. “We are considering something along these lines to ensure our open spaces are freed up and not jeopardised,” Kumar said.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta said: “Several open spaces are encroached upon. Our incentives have not evoked the response we expected. There is need for a new approach.”

Hindustan Times had reported that a survey by the NGO Citispace of 600 open spaces in Mumbai had revealed that 2,99,675.25 sq mt, or 74 acres, were encroached upon.

According to the proposed policy, the BMC would first identify slums around an encroached plot. “We will check whether there is a slum rehabilitation scheme on nearby. If there is, we will bring the slums in the open space into the scheme,” said an official who attended the meeting.

Urban Development Department officials, requesting anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to the media, said the scheme was plausible. “We insisted that steps be taken to protect open spaces. We’ll wait for the BMC to send us the details before taking a decision on it,” said an official.

This is not the BMC’s first tryst with the slum rehabilitation scheme to free up open spaces. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) had been implementing its schemes on plots reserved for open spaces in the late 1990s, which drew a lot of flak from activists. According to the formula worked out, the SRA would house encroachers and new tenants on 67% of the plot, while giving back only 33% as an open space to the city.

Citispace had gone to court, demanding a stay on the policy. The Bombay High Court, in 2002, stayed all such schemes and in 2003 said it would review every such scheme proposed on plots earmarked for open spaces.

A senior civic official said: “Since there is a stay, we are studying the legalities to see how to work out a policy that does not violate the court’s orders.”