The acute water shortage in the state has forced the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to put on hold its plans to take over open spaces in the city.
Civic officials said owing to the water shortage in the city and the lack of staff to maintain these open spaces, the BMC has postponed the process of taking over the 225 open spaces given on adoption basis to private entities.
Following the public outcry over the approval of open spaces policy by the general body of BMC, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had instructed the civic body to take over the open spaces that were given to private entities. He had also directed civic chief Ajoy Mehta to review the controversial policy.
The civic body has so far taken back 74 plots and the last list of notices was sent out in the last week of February. The process was stopped thereafter as the garden department is having difficulty in maintaining the 74 open spaces that were taken back. The department is in the process of appointing contractors for better maintenance of the open spaces. Tenders worth Rs247 crore have been issued for the appointment of contractors.
A senior civic official from the garden department requesting anonymity said, “If we keep taking over the open spaces, it will be difficult for us to maintain them as there is a shortage of water in the city. We have floated tenders for the appointment of contractors for maintenance. Once that is done, we will restart the process of taking over the open spaces.”
The tenders will be presented to the standing committee for approval by first week of May.
While the bigger plots don’t face water scarcity owing to the presence of bore wells, the maintenance of green zone in smaller open spaces completely depends on water supplied by the civic body, said the official.
Currently, the city is reeling under a 20% water cut which is likely to continue till July. The water stock available is about 4.3 lakh million litres. The stock in Vaitarna basin is likely to last for another 100 days and in Bhatsa basin is likely to last for another 84 days. However, the city needs water for another 123 days, said sources in the water department.