BJP opposes banning fests at playgrounds

Mar 22, 2013, 04:40 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

Party alleges that new circular regarding recreational grounds was drafted unilaterally by CM Prithviraj Chavan, accuses BMC of bias against certain festivals

The Bharatiya Janata Party, the other ruling party in the Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, has rejected the civic administration’s new circular regarding its recreation ground and playground (RGPG) policy.

The BJP alleges that changes drafted in the new circular have been made by taking only Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s opinion into account. The new BMC circular denies permission for holding marriage and religious functions at plots reserved for gardens and recreational grounds. It also states that playgrounds should remain open exclusively for children during summer vacations, between April 15 and June 15. 

The circular states that organisers of  festivals like Navratri at playgrounds will have to seek permission. Representation Pic

Groups hosting religious functions like Navratri and the Ganesh festival at these grounds will now need to get prior permission to do so, and they will get it only if the festivities have been happening annually since before 2010.  BJP MLA Gopal Shetty questioned the new draft after a religious organisation was denied permission to hold Ramkatha on a ground in Kandivli (W). 

The group has been holding the festivities at the location for years. Shetty said he was upset with the BMC’s bias towards certain festivals and alleged the entire new draft of the circular was penned on the CM’s order.

According to him, an earlier draft penned on a court order should have been taken into account. “A religious organisation had requested the BMC’s permission to conduct a Ramkatha function in November. The BMC did not reply, saying that needed to wait for the implementation of the new policy. This new draft is not needed. Our corporators are going to oppose this and we don’t mind going to court,” Shetty said.

Joint Commissioner S S Shinde, responsible for the RGPG policy’s implementation, said, “This is not the new RGPG policy. The new policy is yet to be framed. It is just a circular that is to be sent to show how festivities that are permitted need to be spaced out over the course of a month. The circular talks about who is to be given or denied permission.” 

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