South Mumbai MP and Union minister of state for communications and information technology Milind Deora thinks the issue of depleting open spaces in Mumbai needs to be thrust into the limelight by pitching it as a political issue.
Calling for politicians to take note of depleting open spaces in the city, Deora, said: "There is a need for open spaces to be politicised. Only when it is made into a political issue, would it be taken note of seriously in the public sphere and politicians would react." Deora was speaking at an exhibition on the city's open spaces held at Mahalaxmi Racecourse on Saturday.
Deora said: "It is time our votes during elections are decided for the candidate that makes open spaces his or her agenda. Well-maintained public open spaces are extremely important for the quality of life in the city."
He also cited the international example of global warming for the focus it received when it was given a political colour. "Global warming became a priority the world over when it was taken up politically. The votes that were cast in western countries came to be largely decided on the issue of climate change".
The two-day exhibition, Breathing Space, was organised by CitiSpace, an NGO that has been working towards the protection of open spaces since 1998.
The exhibition displayed panels of all the 24 administrative wards plugging the struggles of citizen groups' in saving open spaces in the Development Plan, from encroachments.
"The purpose of the exhibition is to show that if citizens, despite the civic body's neglect can achieve so much, how far-reaching the impact would be if the BMC is with us," said Nayana Kathpalia, co-convenor, CitiSpace.