Despite opposition from activists, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has decided to go ahead with the interim policy for open spaces and hand over their maintenance to local resident associations and private and corporate agencies.
The policy will be tabled in the group leaders’ meeting to be held next month. Several activists, including RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi, Anandini Thakoor and Anjali Damania, met Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta along with leaders from the Congress on Tuesday.
They were, however, not satisfied with the response from the commissioner.
“He was not interested in listening to the concerns of the people. We tried to approach him which did not yield any constructive solution. We will discuss and come up with an alternative approach,” said Anandini Thakoor, chairperson of K West Ward Federation.
The new policy has been termed as a temporary arrangement until the open spaces’ policy is brought into effect instead of hiring contractors to maintain the plots. According to the policy proposal, if local resident associations or corporates are interested in maintaining any of the plots while following the norms laid by the civic body, they can enter into a 11-month contract with the BMC.
According to the terms and conditions mandated by the civic body, the caretaker has to allow non-discriminatory and free access to the public according to the timings prescribed by the BMC. The organisation will be allowed to put up an advertising board at the entrance of the garden which will bear the MCGM logo and be of a dimensions of a foot by two feet.
Going by the norms, the plot cannot be used for any commercial purposes and neither can it be handed over to a third party. The norms also do not allow the plot to be used for political and other promotional events.
As mentioned in the draft of the development plan 2034, no construction will be allowed on the open spaces and the organisation maintaining a certain plot will be held responsible for ensuring that no encroachment is allowed on the plot.
The selection of allotment of plots will be done by a four-member committee, to be headed by the additional municipal commissioner and have the ward officer, the zonal DMC and the deputy garden superintendent.
A majority of the open spaces in the city has already been taken back by the garden department. While the department officials said the 90 plots will not be taken back, those which have been taken over by the BMC can be handed over for maintenance to organisations which are willing to follow the conditions mandated by the civic body.