This corporator claimed that some of these open spaces are to be public parks or recreational spaces for the public, but they are being used as private property by hotels
Residents of K-East ward take part in the signature campaign on Sunday
Alleging that five-star hotels near the airport have taken over public spaces, a BJP corporator has started a signature campaign in the K-East Ward, which covers Andheri East, against this takeover.
This corporator claimed that some of these open spaces are to be public parks or recreational spaces for the public, but they are being used as private property by hotels. While he claims that they will approach the BMC commissioner with the signatures, the bigger picture is a thorough and time-bound investigation into these allegations.
If true, the hotels need to develop the said space as public parks, or give access to the public as promised earlier. Till then, it is important that private entities keep their word and obey the law when it comes to giving the public access to spaces.
A few clubs in Mumbai have also been told that their grounds need to be open to the public, not just members at certain times of the day, as this is not private property. In a space-starved city like Mumbai, we must resist any kind of illegal takeovers, done under the garb of private property, or encroachments for some purpose.
It is also important that if some private person or organisation is using open spaces, not meant for that particular purpose, cutting off access; it means we react quickly and early. The BMC cannot be sitting quietly till months or even years go by and then wake up to purportedly take action after complaints are registered or residents mount a campaign.
We need every inch of legit open space for our citizens. People have a responsibility to use these wisely and with respect. Open spaces are sacrosanct, let us not have confusing policies; implement rules and see that they are open for use to the people of Mumbai.