MONTHS after the outcry over maintenance of open spaces through private agencies including citizens’ groups, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation administration is seeking to spend Rs 133 crore over the coming months on maintaining recreation grounds and playgrounds including some still in possession of private agencies, prompting members of Opposition parties in the BMC to cry foul over the proposed expenditure.
The main grouse of the Congress, NCP and Samajwadi Party corporators was that the proposal to spend Rs 133 crore, discussed and eventually passed by BMC’s Standing Committee on Wednesday, included expenditure on 237 open spaces yet to be brought under control of the civic administration.
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Corporators of the Congress and NCP demanded details of the 76 plots acquired. Pravin Chheda, Congress corporator and leader of the Opposition in the BMC, alleged that the civic administration had deliberately not acquired certain plots due to political pressure.
“The BMC is not touching certain open spaces because they are controlled by politicians. Why haven’t they taken back Gopal Shetty’s plot yet? Why does the BMC want to spend so much money on plots that aren’t even under the BMC’s control yet?” asked Chheda.
Congress corporator Asif Zakaria added there was no clarity on what the funds would be used on.
“They simply say they will spend Rs 17 crore in H West ward, but I have no idea what the money will be spent on. The administration has prepared tenders without taking any feedback from corporators or people living around these open spaces. Don’t waste money making a volleyball court or facilities that they don’t need,” he said.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh stated that the BMC would be able to take back the remaining open spaces within a few days barring one plot in K West ward under litigation, which has been granted interim relief till April 28.