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Opposition leaders oppose Mumbai civic body’s interim open spaces policy

Congress leaders and other opposition leaders in the civic body said they will move court seeking a stay on this policy.

mumbai Updated: Nov 27, 2017 23:14 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation,Open spaces policy
The 187 open spaces, which the civic body had reclaimed, will be leased for 11 months after a civic committee scrutinises the caretakers’ applications under the interim policy.(Pic for Representation)

Leaders of opposition parties in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) staged a protest on Monday against ruling Shiv Sena for sanctioning the interim open spaces policy. While the controversial policy was recently passed by the general body, opposition leaders alleged that it was sanctioned without their approval.

Opposition leaders raised slogans saying “Give back the open spaces to the public”. Congress leaders and other opposition leaders in the civic body said they will move court seeking a stay on this policy. Leader of Opposition Ravi Raja said they do not want open spaces to go back to the same organisations that constructed gymkhanas and club houses on these plots.

Speaking to HT, Raja said, “We will first reopen the policy, which will again be tabled at the general body meeting after three months. Councillors, who were absent when the policy was passed, have the right to reopen it. The BMC has enough funds to maintain their open spaces but they [Sena] still want to give the land to private bodies.”

The interim policy has been mired in controversies for a long time. The policy now allows organisations and groups to adopt the open spaces for 11 months on a contractual basis by reapplying to the ward level committees. Activists and citizen groups have protested this move stating that the open spaces will now go back to the political leaders, who have previously denied free access to the public.

Out of the 216 open spaces, nearly 187 given to private bodies had been taken back by the civic body following a backlash from the citizens. The remaining 29 open spaces largely in control of politicians are yet to be taken back by the BMC. With the interim policy, however, all these private parties can once again get the control of these spaces on a contract basis.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 23:14 IST