Open spaces can't be sacrificed for development

Published: May 10, 2019, 05:53 IST | mid-day correspondent | Mumbai

Let authorities ensure that they choose wisely and well when taking away spaces

Yesterday, this paper ran a report on how the S K Patil Garden on Charni Road in south Mumbai has been encroached on by the BMC. This is ironical, as this little enclave of green on bustling Charni Road, belonged to the BMC in the first place.

This paper has been running a series on the garden, which now seems to be lost to the residents at least in part. It is evident, our reports stated, that when it is returned to the residents it will not have the same dimension that it had when the Water Supply Department closed it down for work back in 2007.

While there has been a huge delay in returning the garden to the residents, with work taking five years instead of 39 months and an expenditure of R156 crore, residents have been left with a smaller garden. The bottom line is that once again, Mumbai's residents starved of outdoor spaces or parks for recreational activities, have had to sacrifice a part of their park for civic reasons.

This city needs to safeguard its open spaces zealously and with eternal vigilance. While civic officials say that a water tunnel is needed, it is strange that continually green and open spaces are somehow encroached upon, either for transport infrastructure or some other amenity.

This is not counting the number of times builders have eyed open spaces and somehow managed to take them away by bending rules. South Mumbai, especially, has very few open spaces left and a park is a rarity in this part of the city. While a water tunnel may have been necessary here, it is also important that alternatives be found and open spaces continue to co-exist.

The constant tussle between development and recreational spaces is taking a toll on the residents who may not have the time or influence to stop parks or spaces being taken away.

Let authorities ensure that they choose wisely and well when taking away spaces.

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