Mumbai civic body wants its plots back, politicians say pay us for maintaining them first
Last month, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis directed Mumbai civic body to reclaim these 42 open spaces once the legislature’s monsoon session endedmumbai Updated: Aug 22, 2017 10:16 IST
On Tuesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will start issuing hand-over notices to people who possess the 42 open spaces that have not yet been reclaimed by the civic body.
Of 216 recreation ground and play ground plots that were leased by the BMC on a caretaker basis, the civic body has reclaimed as many as 174. It wanted to introduce an open spaces policy before taking over the rest.
“The BMC’s garden department will issue the first set of notices to the first six plots on Tuesday. We may decide to send more. Most of these 42 plots are in the custody of senior Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders,” said a civic official, who did not wish to be identified.
Civic officials approached the Bombay high court on Monday to file a caveat for these notices. This is expected to help ensure a smooth takeover process.
The plots yet to be reclaimed include the Swatantra Veer Savarkar Udyan in Borivli, and the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Kridangan in Kandivli — both maintained by BJP MP Gopal Shetty’s Poisar Gymkhana — St Xavier’s ground in Parel — which is with the Mumbai District Football Association — and another plot owed by a trust founded by late Shiv Sena leader Ramesh Prabhu.
“We will make sure that all open spaces are reclaimed,”said civic chief Ajoy Mehta.
Last month, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis directed the civic body to take these 42 open spaces into its custody, once the state legislature’s monsoon session ended. “At a meeting, Fadnavis directed the civic body to fast-track the process of reclaiming these plots. We don’t expect any resistance, as we took over the other 174 plots successfully. However, a caveat was filed in the high court on Monday,” added the official.
A few of the politicians who own these plots had asked the BMC to compensate them for the money they spent to maintain these open spaces. However, civic officials said there was no such agreement in place.
“There is no reason why these plots were not taken back earlier, it’s just that they were last on our list,”said an official from the BMC’s garden department.
MP Gopal Shetty, however, said the gymkhana members had paid for and received membership and access to the two open spaces. “Now that the BMC wants them back, we will have to refund our members. We are just asking BMC to refund our money,” he said.
First Published: Aug 22, 2017 10:16 IST