Facing public outcry over the contentious open spaces policy, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta kickstarted the process of taking back 216 plots given under the previous adoption policy to private entities. On Monday, Mehta cleared a decision to send notices to 30 such entities whose plots lack maintenance.
The action comes three days after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asked the municipal commissioner to review the open spaces policy and take back plots in cases where the agreement period had expired.
Apart from taking back plots given on adoption basis, the civic body is also examining the legality of nine plots given under the erstwhile ‘caretaker policy’. Some of these plots have been turned into clubs and are given out for weddings and other events. “We are legally examining how to take back the plots given on caretaker basis,” said Mehta.
Officials said the agreements of some of these plots given under caretaker basis will expire only on 2025 to 2026. So, legal provisions in the agreements are being examined. At least six of these entities had violated conditions of the agreements, said one senior officer. “Notices will be issued to them too from tomorrow. Then, we will carry out the inspection and will decide on further action,” said a civic official.
Meanwhile, in the ongoing political tussle, the Congress, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and the BJP cornered the Shiv Sena over the open spaces policy.The Congress and the MNS demanded scrapping of the policy. BJP MP Gopal Shetty gave a letter to the civic chief, stating that two plots (Poinsur Gymkhana and Veer Sawarkar Udyan) taken on adoption basis by BJP supporters should be taken back by the BMC only after refunding expenses incurred. “A total Rs 9 crore has been spent on these two plots to develop them. The BMC should give the refund that they feel is fit,” said Shetty, adding that plots would be handed over to the BMC from February 1.
Asked whether he would surrender another plot taken on caretaker basis and reportedly controlled by his supporters, he said, “I have nothing to do with the Kamla Vihar Sports Club. But, if there is a demand, I will ask them to surrender that plot as well,” Shetty added.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said the Shiv Sena and the BJP had usurped prime open spaces and have commercialised these. “The BMC must take back all the open spaces and should maintain those,” said Nirupam. .
He added that the open spaces policy was discussed with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi whose opinion was also that the civic body should maintain them.