Open spaces policy: It is all about you
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is modifying the open spaces policy to usher in more transparency and a greater say for citizen groups.mumbai Updated: Apr 20, 2011 01:45 IST
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is modifying the open spaces policy to usher in more transparency and a greater say for citizen groups.
These include giving financial concessions to citizen groups that apply for maintaining open spaces.
Hindustan Times first reported the proposed changes on September 14, 2010.
Civic officials said the new policy would give more power to local residents while deciding who controls the upkeep of open spaces in their localities.
The BMC suggested a tendering process to decide who gets the open spaces.
Municipal Commissioner Subodh Kumar suggested that local citizen bodies get to maintain the plot even if they quote up to 10% lower than the highest bidder.
“This will ensure that even citizen bodies that can’t match private bids get the open spaces,” said a source close to Kumar on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Another modification proposed regards the division of the plot under the ‘caretaker policy’. Under this policy, the private player gets to construct on 25% of the plot, keeping the rest open to the public. However, earlier, private players abused this clause by usurping the entire plot and restricting public entry.
The proposed open spaces policy suggests that the private party be told to develop and modify the 75% open space first. Only after that would the private party be handed over the rest of the plot.
Under the modification proposed, the BMC would charge the private player a premium for beautification and development of this open space. Using this money, the BMC would develop the plot itself. The BMC would also instruct the private player to fence off and separate the two areas, so there is no chance of the plot being usurped.
“These discussions were part of our internal meetings. Since the policy hasn’t been finalised, I don’t want to comment,” said Kumar. He assured that the policy would have enough checks and balances to prevent its misuse.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta confirmed the changes suggested. Though activists have opposed the new policy since it gives away 25% of the open space to private parties, Gupta said it would encourage more transparency.
“We are proposing measures to check the way private bodies treat our open spaces,” he said.