BMC waits to decide on shutting gardens

Updated: Mar 17, 2020, 07:37 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Officials say they don't want to take city's green lungs away from people; might resort to crowd management instead of shutdown

People mingle freely at Babasaheb Ambedkar Garden near the Collector office in Bandra East. Pic/Nimesh Dave
People mingle freely at Babasaheb Ambedkar Garden near the Collector office in Bandra East. Pic/Nimesh Dave

While the state government has ordered the closing down of all public places to avoid mass gathering, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has not yet decided on the closure of gardens, visited by around 1 million people every day, mostly senior citizens and children. BMC officials fear that this will take away the city's green lungs from its people.

There are around 1,000 parks and gardens in the city. There has been a consistent demand from citizens for gardens to remain open for a longer duration, after which the BMC had opened some gardens for 24 hours in each ward as a pilot project. However, these green spaces might become hotspots for the spread of Coronavirus as hundreds of citizens gather there every evening. "The number of morning walkers has slightly reduced but with the shutting down of schools, the number of children visiting parks in the evening has gone up," said a security guard at the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar garden in front of the collector's office in Bandra.

"Pune has already closed parks, why don't we do them too? What is the use of closing schools and keeping gardens open? It gives us fresh air for sure, but at this time the fear of transmission of the virus is bigger," said Usha Godse, a resident of Bandra.

"We haven't taken a decision on this yet as open spaces are an important part of the city and the BMC doesn't want to restrict fresh air for its citizens. But we will instruct security guards to manage the numbers if necessary," said Jayashree Bhoj, additional commissioner, BMC.

Open spaces in city

Gardens 290
Grounds 819
Parks 25
Total 1,134

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