January 28th was the deadline for the handing over of the open spaces and the BMC was successful in taking over 34 of the 36 open spaces given to various organisations on adoption basis.
The two organisations which were sent notices by the BMC and moved the Bombay High Court in the matter have retracted their cases and will hand over their plots on Friday. These two plots are the General Arunkumar Vaidya Kridangan, at Bandra Reclamation, which is being looked after by Mumbai Education Trust, Bhujbal Knowledge Center, and Padmakar Tukaram Mane Udyan at Nagpada which is being looked after by Educational and Welfare foundation. Therefore only 34 could be taken over on Thursday.
After kicking up a storm with its revised open space policy last year, the BMC had received flak from activists, citizens as well as corporators. Following the tremendous backlash, the CM ordered municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta to review the policy and take back all the open spaces given on adoption basis. There are 216 open spaces in the city, which have been given to various trusts, NGOs, citizens’ groups, corporates etc on adoption basis. The civic body last week issued notices to 36 of these and they were given seven days to comply. The deadline for the compliance was today.
Only recently, the BMC was handed over Prabhadevi’s Sane Guruji garden, which became first of the 36.
"While most plots were taken over by consent from the adoptees, four plots had to be taken over forcefully. These include Bhagwandas Todi Children Park at Marine Drive managed by Bhagwandas Todi Foundation Trust, Sankalp Siddhi Ganesh Maidana at Motilal Nagar, Goregaon, a plot at Malad managed by Gajanan Gupta Charitable Trust, and a plot at Dahisar opposite Universal High School," informed Ram Dotonde, media advisor to the BMC.
The BMC will now issue tenders to hire extra security and maintenance staff for the remaining 200-odd plots.
Yesterday, with the deadline looming large the BMC had contemplated calling for police protection if required while taking over the open plots.