Mumbai: BMC cites space crunch to deny pet parks

Aug 05, 2017, 08:25 IST | Laxman Singh

Always willing to find space for ruthless developers and useless projects, babus reject proposal for a garden for animals in each ward

Due to the lack of dog parks, animal lovers are forced to walk their pets on the road, inconveniencing one and all
Due to the lack of dog parks, animal lovers are forced to walk their pets on the road, inconveniencing one and all

Mumbai's dogs will never have their day. The BMC has rejected the proposal to build pet parks in every ward of the city, citing lack of open space. Former Congress corporator Parminder Bhamra, who had proposed the idea in 2015, has now suggested that the city can at least reserve some space in existing gardens for pets.

Parks in Andheri and Powai reserve certain time slots during the weekend for pets
Parks in Andheri and Powai reserve certain time slots during the weekend for pets

Building pet parks across the city was the pet project of former Congress corporator Bhamra who had moved a proposal on the matter two years ago. In his proposal, he had pointed out that several citizens now keep pets, and although the BMC does their registration and has even set up pet clinics, the Corporation has not provided any recreational space for Mumbaikars' furry buddies. Due to this, pet owners are often forced to walk their dogs on the road. Not only does this expose the pets to stray dogs, but it also inconveniences passing motorists and pedestrians.

While there are a few dog parks like the Huma Wazir garden in Matunga
While there are a few dog parks like the Huma Wazir garden in Matunga

Bhamra had proposed that pet gardens be set up in every ward - Mumbai has 24 administrative wards. Sitting BJP corporator Makarand Narvekar and former Congress corporator Sushma Salunkhe had also made the same demand.

Space crunch
The proposal was recently turned down the office of municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, stating: "Mumbai lacks open space for citizens' recreation and entertainment. The available open spaces are developed for citizens. Since in comparison with its population, the city has very less open spaces, it will not be possible to provide separate 'pet gardens' in each and every ward."

There's no denying the space crunch in the city. Mumbai has around 1,000 open spaces, out of which merely three are dog parks (see box). According to the revised Development Plan 2034, the city has just 1.24 sqm of open space per person. The civic body has now proposed to increase this to 4 sqm per person, which is the global standard.

Why not share our gardens?
Speaking to mid-day, Bhamra expressed his disappointment with the BMC's reply, but offered another solution - sharing the existing parks with pets. "This decision shows that the BMC does not love animals. There are many gardens in each ward. They can develop a small garden for pets too. If not a separate garden, then the civic officials can at least identify a small section in any big garden in each ward and mark it as a pet zone."

Dog parks
>> For canine capers, take your dog to any of the three pet parks in the city, Huma Wazir garden in Matunga, the Carter Road dog park in Bandra, and the third at Priyadarshini Park in Malabar Hill

>> Andheri and Powai have gardens that reserve certain time slots for pets during the weekend

Civic body's duty
Sunish Subramanian Kunju, from the NGO PAWS, said, "This is a public demand and the need of the hour for society. People need open spaces to walk their pets. It is the duty of the civic body to provide it."

1.2 sqm
Open space per Mumbaikar

4 sqm
Global standard of open space per person

 

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