To ensure ‘happiness in the lives of people’, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed to set up ‘happiness centres’ called ‘Swatantra Anand Kaksha’ at three locations in the city. These will be developed in open spaces and include facilities such as a picnic spot, amphitheatre, playground, recreational space, parking space, eateries, etc.
The civic body is planning to set up these centers on the lines of a Madhya Pradesh government initiative, which had in 2016 set up a ‘department of happiness’. “The department was constituted with a view to measure happiness in the lives of people and suggest ways to ensure it. In Mumbai, we see people have no time for themselves. Having a getaway within the city might help them. The Swatantra Anand Kaksha will offer relaxation within the city,” said a senior official from BMC’s development plan department.
The proposal was first put forth by Datta Narvankar, former MNS corporator who recently defected to the Shiv Sena, and was tabled in the Improvements Committee Monday. The proposal is awaiting the nod of the committee.
The draft Development Plan 2034 has provisions for upgrading and developing existing open spaces. Hence, the civic body has been planning ways to develop these open spaces. The ‘happiness centers’ are part of such plans. The civic body has already sanctioned Rs 30 crore for the development of existing open spaces. The provisions state that these open spaces can be developed into public utilities such as museums, art and theatre halls, gardens, recreational spaces, cultural centres, movie halls, exhibition centres, skill development centres, multi-purpose social centres, laser park, etc.
“We are working on the project, on its technical and design aspects. Once finalised, we will once again table it before the Improvements Committee for approval,” the official said.