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BMC's stringent open space policy meets stiff opposition from BJP, Shiv Sena leaders

Monday, 11 August 2014 - 7:51am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

The Brihanmumbai Mumbai Corporation's attempts to retain tight control on its plots may not bear fruit, thanks to vested interests.

While the civic body has prepared a draft policy that seeks to repeal the caretaker policy and make the existing adoption policy more stringent, many BJP-Shiv Sena group leaders have objected to some of conditions. The opposition will result in force civic officials to dilute the proposal by introducing amendments to it.

The amendments might actually dilute the original proposal that would have prevented misuse of open spaces by politicians and other prominent organisations. Civic officials say they have no more open spaces left in the city to be given for adoption.

Currently, there are 1,052 open spaces in the city, including gardens, recreational grounds and playgrounds, of which 186 are under adoption, over 700 have been developed and 160 are being taken up for maintenance by the civic garden department.

Only after the amended policy is approved by a majority of group leaders, will it be forwarded to the state government. In 2007, there was a stay on the adoption and the caretaker policy in the wake of outcry from activists.

Following the stay, neither the BMC could give new plots to different bodies for adoption nor could it take back plots given on adoption basis to organisations, unless they received serious complaints about them.

As per the draft policy, only organizations having a sound financial base can adopt and maintain big parks. Interested parties will have to show a turnover of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 5 crore per year, which should be consistent over the last five years. Organisations wanting plots for adoption should also have a horticulture expert.

Misuse of caretaker policy

Civic officials say clubs like Borivali's Kamala Vihar Sports Complex, Bandra's MIG Club, Jogeshwari's Matoshree Club, Borivali's Mandapeshwar Club and Prabodhankar Thackeray Complex are flouting rules by usurping open spaces, carrying out illegal constructions and restricting public access.

Trusts were given the plots in 2007, but the policy was stayed after protests by citizens.

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