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Now, hold your ground

Thursday, 28 February 2013 - 8:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

To loosen netas' stranglehold over open grounds, BMC tweaks its booking policy.

The city administration has scrapped the policy of booking open grounds for an entire year. Instead, it will now give permission every month to use the grounds for private functions.

In a given year, there are 30 days that are earmarked on which the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation lets out its recreation grounds and playgrounds. By far, these 30 days are around the festival season – Ganpati, Navratri and Durga puja – when the demand is high.

In case more than one entity is desirous of booking the ground on a particular date, the municipal authority will cast lots and chose the lucky one. This will be done in front of all parties concerned.

Until now, it was common practice for political parties to book grounds for almost all 30 days of the year, compelling private entities to approach the political party to use the ground on a particular ocassion.

According to an event organiser from the western suburbs, they often had to shell out extra money to use the ground. “Also, we were compelled to invite a senior politician of the party concerned as the chief guest for the function,” the organiser said, asking not to be named.

Spokesperson for Mumbai Pradesh Congress, Sachin Sawant, had met municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte on Tuesday about this issue. “Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had recently directed Kunte to introduce changes so that others could also benefit from the new rule,” said Sawant.

Deputy municipal commissioner SS Shinde confirmed the development.  “We’re working on the change in the policy on recreation ground and playgrounds,” said Shinde, adding that finer aspects were still to be worked out.


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