July 23, 2021 1:19:28 am
Vadodara Mayor Keyur Rokadia on Thursday announced that the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) will take back the 46 plots that were handed over to various organisations from 1993 for green belt plantations. The decision comes after protest by Congress demanding to take back all the 46 plots handed over to organisations between 1993 and 2004 alleging “misuse” by these organisations.
Led by city party president Prashant Patel and Leader of Opposition in the civic body Ami Ravat, the Congress also protested civic body’s new proposal, which is now before the General Board, to allot 75 open plots to private institutions to create a mini urban forest.
On Thursday, the Congress leaders protested in the office of the Mayor, by handing over a sapling to Rokadia, and sought that the VMC should develop the green plots on its own.
Following the protest, Rokadia announced that the VMC will take back the plots given out from 1993 but they will go ahead with the new proposal.
“We have decided to take back all the 46 plots that were given out from 1993 onwards. On many of these 46 plots, the institutions who got the custody to create an open space, constructed some structures in the name of senior citizen clubs and so on. The land and the said construction will now become the property of the VMC and we will see whether it should be razed or not,” Rokadia told The Indian Express
He added that the institutions will be given time for about two weeks to remove their belongings from the 46 plots before handing them over to the VMC.
Rokadia said that the civic body will, however, continue with the decision to hand over the the 75 plots to private entities are ensure they are not misused.
“We will monitor the way the plots are being used. The proposal of 1991, based on which 46 plots were handed out since 1993 was not the same as the new one now. That proposal was for open spaces and gardens… This new proposal is purely an urban forest and for the first three years of the hand over no one will be allowed to venture inside. Once the saplings have grown and taken root, we will see if we should allow them to diversify for the public. Except for putting up their nameplates, the institutions will not be allowed to erect anything on these lands,” he added.
When asked why the VMC could not plant urban forests on its own, Rokadia said that the aim was to “get the citizens involved” in the project. The issue of the VMC proposing to hand over 75 plots of lands measuring a total of close to 14 lakh square feet in prime areas of the city for urban forests has turned into contention with the opposition alleging a scam.
Ravat, who had sent a legal notice to the VMC seeking immediate withdrawal of the scheme, said, “Their decision to take back the 46 lands is welcome but they should account for the corruption that has happened in these years and ensure that the other lands proposed are developed as forests by the civic body itself.”
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