Now, politicians oppose BMC’s new draft policy on open spaces | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Now, politicians oppose BMC’s new draft policy on open spaces

Sep 18, 2023 12:38 AM IST

BJP MLA Ameet Satam thanked the administration for leaving parks and gardens out of the ambit of adoption policy by maintaining them on their own, he stated that he would have been happier had the same stand been applied to RG/PGs in the city

Mumbai: More than a week after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued its new draft policy on gardens, playgrounds and recreational areas; politicians echo activists’ voices with concerns over its implementation.

Mumbai, India - November 03, 2022: BMC which had planted 1 lakh square metres of greenery on the popular Shivaji Park ground, after complaints from residents of neighbouring housing societies to combat dust pollution in February 2022, has once again turned dusty as the green lawn has not lasted even 10 months, in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, November 03, 2022. (Photo by Satish Bate/Hindustan Times) (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)
Mumbai, India - November 03, 2022: BMC which had planted 1 lakh square metres of greenery on the popular Shivaji Park ground, after complaints from residents of neighbouring housing societies to combat dust pollution in February 2022, has once again turned dusty as the green lawn has not lasted even 10 months, in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, November 03, 2022. (Photo by Satish Bate/Hindustan Times) (Satish Bate/HT PHOTO)

Under the new policy, BMC will authorise the adoption of open spaces for only eleven months, three years, or five years, with several riders. This provision will allow private parties to “acquire” a municipal plot by paying the BMC 50% of the land value.

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The politicians argue there is no need for private parties to adopt recreation and playgrounds (RG/PG) when the BMC is financially sound to maintain them.

BJP MLA Ameet Satam thanked the administration for leaving parks and gardens out of the ambit of adoption policy by maintaining them on their own, he stated that he would have been happier had the same stand been applied to RG/PGs in the city.

Satam said, “We should firstly acknowledge, understand and accept the fact that any plot/property given on an adoption/caretaker basis creates possession rights on BMC property and it is not possible or extremely difficult and far-fetched to take back the possession of the plot or the property as the concerned party goes to court and it takes a lot of time in the judicial process. We also know the kind of time it takes to close a civil matter in the judicial process.”

He explained that there was also no need to appoint a third party for the maintenance of RG/PGs as BMC is quite capable and rich enough to take care of and maintain its own open spaces.

“Recently, BMC has come up with a good system of application-based online booking for our swimming pools. The same can be applied for booking of track and field and other sporting activities on our RG/PG which will lead to a fair and transparent booking process. The maintenance of various activities on RG/PG can be done by BMC-appointed contractors the same way it is done for gardens. Also, I don’t see gardens being made unavailable for adoption and making RG/PGs available. In my opinion, gardens, and RG/,PGs both should be maintained by BMC and local ALMs, citizen groups or NGOs can act as watchdogs to help BMC and point out shortcomings if any,” said Satam.

Satam pointed out that open spaces given for caretakers/adoption in the past have become the personal fiefdom of certain individuals and exploited for commercial purposes as per their whims and fancies.

Satam concluded that all open spaces currently in possession of individuals and institutions given on a caretaker and adoption basis should be taken back.

MLA Rais Shaikh too opposed this policy and said that there cannot be an important policy for the city in the absence of elected representatives.

“What is the BMC’s rationale behind going for adoption? Don’t they have money? The budget provision for maintenance of open spaces is 350 crore. The policy is also silent on what action they will take on existing encroachers of open space plots who have usurped in the name of caretaker/adoption basis in the past and are exploiting it commercially and have made gymkhanas. We will oppose this policy tooth and nail and even move court if required,” added Shaikh.

It is to be noted that there are 51 open plots still in private control given under caretaker and adoption basis. 11 open plots out of 51 were given on the controversial caretaker policy.

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