On Tuesday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated a report on open spaces by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), but curiously remained mum on the BMC's Open Space policy, which has been lying in limbo for more than a year.
However, he did say that the government would develop more open spaces and make policies to ensure easy acquisition of encroached open spaces.
The Open Space policy was highly criticised by the citizens and stalled by Fadnavis in 2016, following which the civic body was instructed to take back 235 open spaces. Since then, there has been no movement in this case or the policy.
Not even half of the share
ORF's report has revealed that not even half of the city's 3,780 acres of open spaces belong to the civic body, which has only 1,322 acres. Further, 17 per cent or 664 acres of the spaces are exclusively reserved for the elite. These areas are inaccessible due to restricted entries for clubs and gymkhanas situated on it. They also include the open spaces given to politicians under BMC's much criticised caretaker policy in the early 90s. The remaining 2,458 acres belongs to other authorities such as the Collector, Mumbai Port Trust, and MMRDA.
Slew of measures
The report has suggested a slew of measures that need to be taken by the BMC while drafting a new open spaces policy, one of which is having a better acquisition policy and trying out the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. Fadnavis said this measure should be thought about and have people's participation, so that citizens can be allowed to run open spaces.
DP to be finalised
At the event, Fadnavis also assured that the Development Plan (DP) 2034 would be finalised and published before March 2018. DP 2034 was forwarded to the state government for its approval about two months ago, after being in draft stages for over two years. It is through the several policies of accommodation and reservations in the DP that the civic body can acquire more land, said Fadnavis. He said, "While all other cities' DP has been cleared and even as the government has 18 months to clear the [Mumbai] DP, I assure that by February or March next year, the DP will be finalised."
Open space per person (m2)
Mumbai: 1.28 M2
New York: 26.4
Budget estimate for the garden dept for 2016-17
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