Finding several flaws in the caretaker policy on open spaces, the state government has asked the civic body to go back to the drawing board and redraft the controversial policy.
“We have to draft the policy considering that protection of open spaces from encroachments is a difficult task,” said chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
Talking on this matter in the Legislative Council, Chavan said the state had sent back the draft policy to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Citizen groups and NGOs have been opposing the caretaker policy since it allows a private institutions to take over a plot and construct clubs, restaurants or bars on 25% area. They want open spaces to be maintained and protected by the BMC or given on adoption basis.
Congress MLC Subhash Chavan said the current caretaker policy was being misused. “Private clubs on public land and are making profits at the cost of the local populace,” he said.
Hindustan Times had reported on how organisations backed by politicos were usurping open spaces to construct clubs and restricting access to the public. The then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh stayed the policy in 2007.
Bhaskar Jadhav, minister of state for urban development, accused two clubs, Kamla Vihar and Matoshree, of violating rules. They have political patronage of BJP MLA Gopal Shetty and Shiv Sena MLA Ravindra Waikar respectively. “The BMC has given notices to them,” he said.
Nayana Kathpalia, co-convener, Citispace, said,“Private institutions should be kept out as they misuse their authority.”