mid-day Garden Audit: Ajoy Mehta asks officials to frame guidelines to keep gardens open till 11 pm
mid-day imapact>> An idea that first took shape during a mid-day's initiative is all set to see light of day, with ward officers being empowered to keep parks open for longer hours
You might finally be able to take a walk in your local park after dinner, with the BMC now mulling over suggestions to keep the city's gardens open till 11 pm. Just days after mid-day held its Round Table conference with officials and experts to discuss longer opening hours for parks, the civic body is now finalising a policy for the same. A decision is anticipated by the end of the month.
Following this paper's Garden Audit series and the Round Table discussion held last week, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta has asked civic officials to frame guidelines for the best possible way to keep gardens open till night.
Sena weighs in
Meanwhile, yesterday, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray met Mehta and requested him to keep parks open till 11 pm. Thackeray said that greater access to open space is required for exercise and de-stressing. Currently, all the municipal gardens are open till 7 pm or 8 pm at the most. Office-goers are often unable to enjoy gardens after work because of these timings. Parks are also shut in the afternoons, further depriving access to citizens.
A sighboard outside Govandi's Lotus Colony Garden states the park will only be open in the morning hours. File pic
During mid-day's Round Table conference, civic officials from the garden department had promised to consider suggestions to extend the timings, after many citizens and NGOs supported the cause. It had further been highlighted that if the city is to move towards nightlife, open spaces, too, should be open longer. This will also allow many office-goers to visit parks after their shift ends.
A senior civic official told this reporter, "Since we are planning to keep all the gardens open until night, we are framing uniform guidelines. A few citizen groups and public representatives have raised questions over safety if gardens are kept open in late hours. So we are considering all these factors. Once we finalise the policy, a circular will be issued."
The circular is expected to be sent out by the end of the month. The official added, "We are planning to give powers to the local ward officers and deputy municipal ommissioners to decide on whether the gardens should be kept open longer. "If any untoward incident happens, or a majority of citizens are against keeping gardens open till night, the respective ward officer or DMC can take the final call on it."
Current closing time
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Mid-day Garden Audit 2018: BMC bows to citizens' demands to keep parks open from 6 am to 9 pm