Five days, over 1,000 ideas, 300 citizen groups, NGOs and individuals. A rare chance to shape the way their city must grow brought out innovative ideas, possible solutions and enthusiastic suggestions for collaboration from citizens along with some grievances, in the five days that the civic standing committee gave citizens to submit ideas on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) budget.
From developing solar-powered parks and gardens to developing flea markets and creating public spaces where arts could be performed, citizens wrote in, showing sensitivity and imagination to the city’s issues.
On Friday, a day after the deadline ended, the civic standing committee chairman Yashodar Phanse’s office started counting the number of proposals. “We are thrilled with the response we’ve got. It is a sign that people are enthusiastic to suggest improvements for their city, when given a chance,” he said.
While there were numerous solutions and suggestions of diverse kinds, a large portion of the ideas were centred around some of the most pressing civic issues: greater pedestrianisation and pedestrian-friendly facilities, smoother roads, a cleaner city, better maintained open spaces as well urgent measures to save the environment including special measures to conserve the city’s tree cover.
In fact, Phanse said the Deonar fire also seemed to have affected many of the responses, with a large number of them proposing more innovative ways of popularising segregation of waste. “Why don’t we create an army of citizen volunteers in every area of the city, whose job it can be to ensure societies segregate their waste? Students can also work with corporators to make it happen,” wrote one.
Another young student, wrote in with her concern about poor pedestrian facilities in the city. why not have well-planned pedestrian walkways, a third one said the city needed specialised theme parks, in line with different highlights that the city offers.
Another citizen wrote in, saying that motorists who park on pavements could be charged hefty fines and a new source of income added to the civic finances.
Phanse said that the task to study these proposals was herculean but will be completed by next week.