Mumbai: In new Open Space policy, BMC lets politicians retain plots, again

Updated: Nov 16, 2019, 08:03 IST | Chetna Sadadekar | Mumbai

Civic body excludes plots given to politicians on caretaker basis from latest Open Space policy's ambit; proposes two committees to supervise other open spaces.

Matoshree club in Jogeshwari East. Pic/ Anurag Ahire
Matoshree club in Jogeshwari East. Pic/ Anurag Ahire

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in its latest version of the Open Space policy has excluded nine plots that were given to politicians on caretaker basis from its ambit. Long accused of giving private players the opportunity to grab plots, the policy proposes two committees to oversee maintenance and prevent usurping of land.

The nine plots — including Matoshree Club, Poisar Gymkhana, and Swatantra Veer Savarkar Udyan — will remain to be with their caretakers.

Last year, mid-day highlighted the state of gardens and organised a round-table conference of citizens and BMC officials where the former demanded that BMC take their inputs. The BMC claims that a majority of the suggestions have been taken.

Timings and free access to the gardens will be mandated by the BMC and maintenance will be done on volunteer basis, sources said. There will be an oversight committee of ward officials, corporators, ALMs, and others tasked with decision-making and review. If the committee finds irregularities with the maintenance, it can terminate the agreement with the maintaining authority. The maintenance committee will comprise local citizens.

"The policy will detail permissible activities and role of the committees. The supervisory committee will review the functioning and the maintenance committee will monitor daily activities. The draft policy is yet to be presented before the Municipal Commissioner," said a civic official. The proposal is likely to be mooted before the commissioner next week.

Various politicians usurped land given to them between 1995 and 1999 on caretaker basis. The policy was stayed in 2007 as it allowed exploitation at the hand of private players.

Nayana Kathpalia from NAGAR, said, "We were included during discussions and have insisted on a quarterly review. While we can't comment on the nine plots, we have ensured that all the open spaces are safe and used for public purpose. The BMC seems to be positive and we expect an air-tight policy." Jitendra Pardeshi, Gardens Superintendent, was not available for comment.

No. of plots that politicos continue to control

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