'Don't give the gardens to commercial users'

Updated: Aug 16, 2019, 08:18 IST | Arita Sarkar

Following BMC's invitation for suggestions before drafting open spaces policy, garden dept receives more than 250 responses

'Don't give the gardens to commercial users'
The BMC, which maintains 190-odd plots, has not been able to take back some plots. Representation pic

Mumbaikars have a lot to suggest about the manner in which the city's open spaces should be maintained and they unanimously feel that the gardens should not be given out to commercial users. In response to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) invitation for suggestions before drafting the open spaces policy, the garden department has received more than 250 responses.

The civic body put out advertisements in local newspapers inviting suggestions from August 3-18 about how the gardens should look, who should maintain them, and the timings till which they should be kept open. After the matter was first discussed during mid-day's Garden Audit round-table with civic officials last year, the BMC had decided to take suggestions from citizens.

Garden department officials said the suggestions they have received so far support the idea of resorting to a public-private partnership for maintenance, safety and proper seating arrangements at the gardens. "Citizens want the gardens to be visually and physically accessible and there should be no compound walls. They have also suggested water harvesting and ways to encourage user involvement in the form of feedback boxes," said a civic official.

He added that based on a model adopted in Singapore, one of the suggestion mentions setting up kiosks in all the gardens. "The kiosk will have the layout of the garden which will help visitors figure out where the play area or the toilets are," he said. Citizens have three more days to submit their suggestions.

In a space-starved city like Mumbai, the BMC has received a lot of criticism for poor maintenance of the open spaces after taking them back from private players. After examining all the suggestions, the civic body will publish the draft policy in newspapers and the general public will have another chance to submit their suggestions or objections regarding it.

Also read: mid-day garden audit: BMC orders to place complaint book in every park

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