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Mumbai’s open spaces: Will take back remaining 29 plots, says BMC chief

mumbai Updated: Nov 24, 2017 21:15 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,open spaces,BMC

Acting on the CM’s orders in January 2016, the civic body reclaimed 187 of its 216 open spaces(FILE)

A day after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) approved the interim open spaces policy, civic chief Ajoy Mehta on Friday said 29 plots that are in possession of adoptees, which have political trustees, would be reclaimed.

Acting on the CM’s orders in January 2016, the civic body reclaimed 187 of its 216 open spaces. While the BMC is yet to serve notices those maintaining the remaining plots, here’s an unanswered question. Why did the BMC pass the policy in a hurry, even though 29 plots were to be taken back?

Under the interim policy, private organisations, non-government organisations and citizen groups will get a chance to maintain the open spaces in the city for 11 months or till the main policy is approved. The ones who were earlier in charge of those spaces, too, can apply for adoption.

“The remaining 29 plots will be taken back from the organisations. You [organisations] will have to apply to the committee and sign an undertaking that all norms will be adhered to,” said Ajoy Mehta, municipal commissioner.

Interested parties will have to apply to a three-member committee, who will study the eligibility of the organisations to adopt an open space. They will have to strictly comply with the BMC’s conditions, including non-discriminatory access to all citizens for free. The BMC, however, is entitled to take back the plots at any point without a notice.

Most of the 29 plots are maintained by senior BJP and Shiv Sena leaders. Some of the prominent open spaces that are yet to be taken back by the BMC include Swatantra Veer Savarkar Udyan in Borivali and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Kridangan in Kandivli (both maintained by BJP MP Gopal Shetty’s Poisar Gymkhana); a plot in Goregaon maintained by Sena minister Subhash Desai’s Prabodhan Foundation and St Xavier’s ground in Parel maintained by Mumbai District Football Association, which is chaired by Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray. Other plots are Aarey Bhaskar in Goregaon with Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu, and a plot in Vile Parle maintained by Sena leader Ramesh Prabhu’s trust.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 21:15 IST