Only 50 groups send views on civic policy | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Only 50 groups send views on civic policy

With only 50 citizen groups filing their suggestions and objections to the proposed policy on open spaces by Saturday — the last day for sending responses — your last chance to have a say in the civic policy has ended.

mumbai Updated: Aug 09, 2011 01:45 IST
Bhavika Jain

With only 50 citizen groups filing their suggestions and objections to the proposed policy on open spaces by Saturday — the last day for sending responses — your last chance to have a say in the civic policy has ended.

As part of the regular procedure, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had invited suggestions and objections to the policy over a period of 30 days. “We have received letters from 50 organisations. One letter could have more than one suggestion,” said a civic official from the estate department.

According to civic officials, the number of responses is hardly reflective of the apparent outrage of the citizens against the policy. “One of the reasons behind the low turnout could be that the draft of the policy put up on the civic body’s website was in Marathi,” said Nayana Kathpalia of Citispace, an NGO working towards safeguarding open spaces in the city.

Civic officials, however, clarified that they had uploaded the English version of the policy on the website a week ago.

Most of the responses suggest that locals should be granted access to the grounds and that the BMC should refrain from involving a third party for maintenance. “By allotting the upkeep to a third party, the BMC is trying to suggest that it doesn’t have enough funds to maintain plots which is not true,” said a member of the Marine Drive Residents’ Association.

The new policy aims at giving first preference to local citizen groups to adopt or maintain the plots under the caretaker policy. Playgrounds and recreational grounds with an area less than 5,000 sqm will be given on adoption basis on which no construction will be allowed. The bigger plots will be given on caretaker basis, on which only 25 % of the area can undergo construction.

The state government in 2007 stayed the earlier policy following a public outcry on the misuse of the policy by private trusts.

Now, all the organisations that have written to the BMC will be given a hearing by the officer of the level of deputy municipal commissioner and if found valid, the suggestions and objections will be included in the draft policy which will be further discussed by the group leaders of the civic body. “The policy will then be tabled in the improvements committee and after a sanction from the general body it will be sent to the state to vacate the stay on the policy,” said a senior civic official.