Open spaces policy back on table

  • Chetna Yerunkar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jan 17, 2016 00:58 IST
Open spaces policy, also called the recreational ground/ playgrounds policy, was tabled in November 2015 in the BJP-led improvements committee (File photo)

A day after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a review of the controversial open space policy, which was passed in the general body meeting of the civic body, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has now sought to reopen the same for discussion.

BJP MLA and corporator Ameet Satam has moved a notice of motion to reopen the policy in the general body meeting of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for discussion. This means the implementation of the policy in its present form will be stalled.

Read more: Fadnavis intervenes to save Mumbai’s open spaces

Satam has said the policy was not citizen-friendly and the views of the citizens needed to be incorporated.

The reopening of any policy cannot be done within three months of its approval; hence, Satam’s notice of motion will be taken into consideration only after three months.

It is at the general body meeting that the fate of the policy will be decided and not according to the civic chief Ajoy Mehta’s review report.

Even if the review report of Mehta is positive but a majority of corporators at the general body meeting choose to reopen the policy for discussion, the power will lie with the elected body to change the policy further.

Civic sources said the concerns of the citizen groups- open spaces will be misused and will be out of bounds for citizens- will be tackled on priority.

Mehta said, “Citizens’ concerns will be addressed. No construction will be allowed on open spaces (recreation grounds or playgrounds) and it will be a part of the DCR that is under revision.”

Meanwhile, Mehta will initiate the process of taking over 235 open spaces from private entities, who had been allotted spaces under the old adoption policy, from Monday.

He has sought legal opinion from the law department of BMC on the further course of action-whether to issue letters asking representatives of the entities to be present on a particular date when the civic officials take over the plot or to send notices or carry advertisements in newspapers.

The Sena, however, continued to defend the policy saying it was would help maintain open spaces better.

Standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse, said, “We have been talking about taking back over 200 plots from private entities and it is good that the civic administration will do it now. We still stick to our stand that it is a good policy.”

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