Mumbai: Open spaces vs Miyawaki forests

Updated: 27 December, 2019 07:57 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Corporators are divided over supporting the civic body's idea, as some feel open spaces in gardens and parks should not be used for it

Atmaram Satam Guruji Udyan will be transferred to MHADA and the BMC will get other land in return where they will be able to create the Miyawaki forest
Atmaram Satam Guruji Udyan will be transferred to MHADA and the BMC will get other land in return where they will be able to create the Miyawaki forest

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is keen on creating Miyawaki forests in Mumbai, but some corporators are opposed to the idea. Many have objected to the selection of spots for the same, as these include children's playgrounds and parks. The municipal commissioner is trying to convince them that the plantation will be done on the sides of the parks and will not consume the space of gardens or playgrounds.

There are 1,068 open spaces across the city but the BMC hasn't chosen any area from Colaba to Dadar except Lalbaug-Parel for Miyawaki forests. The civic body has finalised 64 recreation grounds and parks from the Western and Eastern suburbs for Miyawaki forests. mid-day had reported on December 20 that despite contrary assurances the civic body has selected five playgrounds. "A Miyawaki forest will ultimately reduce air pollution. It is good for citizens who visit gardens for fresh air. It will not take up the open space in gardens or playgrounds," said Praveen Pardeshi, municipal commissioner. He added that even if there are some playgrounds on the list, the Miyawaki forests will be created on the sides or corners in them just like other trees and will not take up any space meant for tennis, or football, or badminton etc.

The local corporator said Nakshatra garden at Juhu is less developed and if a Miyawaki forest is planted there, it will be useful for walkers. Pics/Bipin Kokate and Sameer Markande
The local corporator said Nakshatra garden at Juhu is less developed and if a Miyawaki forest is planted there, it will be useful for walkers. Pics/Bipin Kokate and Sameer Markande

Open spaces to be used
A corporator who is opposed to the idea said a garden from his ward was selected, but there is only that small open space for the densely populated area. Another corporator raised the issue of security in his area. There is a slum around the open space that was selected. The Miyawaki plantation will be thick and beyond common people's surveillance. Asif Zakaria, corporator from Bandra, opposed the idea by terming it an ornamental forest. The BMC was trying to develop a big area in Joggers Park in Bandra. But now it will develop the forest on merely 1.5 per cent of the area. Sachin Padwal, corporator from Lalbaug said a Miyawaki forest is a good idea, but no one should take the minimal open space in the city for it.

Some support plan
While some corporators opposed the idea, others accepted it. Rohan Rathod, corporator from Andheri West, said, "There are five gardens in my ward and the Nakshatra garden is not well developed. If the BMC plants a thick forest there and gives access by pathways, it will be useful for walkers." Two-thirds of the garden will be used for the forest. Ashraf Azmi, corporator of Kurla, told mid-day that he is ready to allow a Miyawaki forest in a park in his ward. "The park is yet to be developed and the plantation will be on part of it," said Azmi.

Anil Kokil, corporator from Lalbaug said, "Atmaram Satam Guruji Udyan is already developed. BMC wanted to develop a Miyawaki forest at the corner of this L-shaped garden. It is fine if the area is not constrained too much." The BMC will take one-third area of the garden for the Miyawaki forest. BMC has also chosen some garden plots that are not yet developed for Miyawaki forests. This includes two-thirds of an area marked for a garden in Marol.

1,068
No. of open spaces in the city

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First Published: 27 December, 2019 07:43 IST

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