Continuing their resistance against the civic body’s plans to lift the stay on the controversial caretaker policy — it is re-drafting the policy — citizens’ groups, along with the NGO Citispace, called for a public meeting on Saturday.
The meeting essentially was to make local residents of Dadar, Matunga and Parsi Colony areas aware about the open spaces in their areas and mobilise them in order to protect these spaces.
Nayana Kathpalia, co-convenor of Citispace, maintained that they were against the caretaker policy that was stayed in 2007 after public outcry.
“The policy will lead to privatisation and commercialisation of public land and we are opposing it. We also demand that this policy should be scrapped completely,” Kathpalia said.
The meeting was organised by the Muncherjee Edulji Joshi Colony Residents Association (MEJCRA) at Five Gardens and was attended by over 50 residents, including actor Boman Irani.
The caretakers policy is one in which private players can carry out development on open spaces. Under it, reserved land is given indefinitely on a minimum 33-year lease that is indefinitely extendible.
The policy allows the building of clubs and gyms on 25 per cent of the land while the remaining 75 per cent should be kept for the public as open space.
“The BMC has the money to maintain open spaces remaining in the city, but doesn’t want to do it due to vested interest in these plots,” Kathpalia said.
Citispace has decided to conduct such meetings at the ward levels as well so as create awareness among locals about open spaces in their areas.
Local residents who attended the meeting have been asked to be vigilant and get information about open spaces in their locality in order to protect them from encroachment and commercialisation.