Citizens write to Maharashtra CM, want free access to open spaces

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 02, 2016 01:01 IST

NAGAR, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that has opposed the controversial open spaces policy to protect them from being misused by private developers, has written to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, offering their assistance in drafting a citizen-friendly policy.

The organisation submitted a proposed policy last Friday, for the preservation, conservation, security and maintenance of public open spaces belonging to the civic body, along with a plan of action to execute the policy.

After the uproar over the controversial policy, Fadnavis intervened and ordered a review of it.

He also ordered the BMC to take back more than 200 open spaces that were lying with private entities.

NAGAR proposed that the citizen-friendly policy deal with aspects such as creating a network of high-quality open spaces, enhancing the physical character of an area, providing infrastructure and ecosystem services, among others.

The proposed policy suggests the civic body should have budgetary allocations for the installation of rainwater harvesting systems, solar lighting where possible and composting systems.

The management plan suggests free entry for all from 6.00am to 9.00pm, no weddings, religious and political functions be allowed and no street vendors be permitted.

The proposed policy also suggested citizens’ participation by forming a ward-level committee comprising civic officials, local corporators and local resident associations, further encouraging citizens’ participation.

Nayana Kathpalia, trustee of NAGAR, said, “There is also a need to amend the DCR and define the Recreation Grounds/Playgrounds/Parks/Gardens and should also specify what is permitted and not permitted on these reservations.”

The civic body had issued 36 notices to various organisations across the city, with a seven-day deadline to return the plots to the civic body after clearing all the electricity and water bills.

The deadline ended on January 28. As the deadline to return 36 plots ended last Thursday, 34 plots were returned to the civic body by various trusts and organisations across the city.

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