In Mumbai: Citizen group gets notice for misuse of garden
The Malabar Hill Citizen Forum, which is in charge of maintaining the 20-acre Priyadarshani Park at Napean Sea Road, has been served a notice by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for allegedly misusing the park and conducting commercial activities on it. According to the notice sent by the BMC, a gymnasium and recreation room were built near the sea shore without permission. The forum, however, denies misusing the park and has moved court against the BMC.
This is the first time the BMC has taken action against an organisation for alleged misuse of an open space under its control.
According to the BMC’s notice, a synthetic jogging track, a snack shop and two sheds built were without a obtaining a no-objection certificate. The notice also alleged that the forum charged people to use facilities at the park.
However, BA Desai, president of Malabar Hill Citizen Forum, said, “We are not handing over the plot and have already filed a petition in the court. We have been maintaining the park beautifully and have not undertaken any commercial activities. A fee is charged for coaching in the sports complex and no entry fee is charged.”
According to the BMC’s interim open spaces policy, which is yet to receive approval from the corporator’s body, organisations maintaining open spaces must provide free and non-discriminatory access to all citizens.
After the open spaces policy stalled, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis asked the BMC to take back all 216 plots adopted by various individuals and groups. The BMC has taken back 141 plots from various organisations. Some of these are Horniman Circle garden, Sabina Chandrashekhar recreation ground at Colaba, Maharshi Karve park recreation ground at Wadala, Sane Guruji Udyan near Siddhivinayak temple, and General Arunkumar Vaidya Garden at Bandra Reclamation. After a monsoon hiatus, the BMC recently sent 15 fresh notices to organisations in charge of open spaces. Five of these are yet to return the plots to the civic body.