No more rallies and fairs at Marine Drive promenade

“Very few megacities in the world can be proud of such an open space.  The idea is to ensure more and more public spaces are made available, and to protect public spaces that are already available," BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said.

Written by Dipti Singh | Mumbai | Published: December 24, 2017 10:59:16 am
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Citing protection of open spaces as reason, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will not allow any event, exhibition, fair and rallies on or near the iconic Marine Drive promenade henceforth. The BMC commissioner has directed ward officials not to allow any commercial activity on the promenade that will lead to hindering and restricting public access at any point.

Over a century old now, the Marine Drive promenade has been one of the favourite venues for events like plant and flower exhibitions and also mass yoga performance during the International Yoga Day.  The promenade is easily
the most famous waterfront in the city, with thousands of  people travelling from the suburbs on weekends to enjoy breezy evenings.  But on days events like exhibitions are held, public access to the area is restricted.

On Friday, BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta wrote to the assistant municipal commissioners of all 24 administrative wards and the deputy municipal commissioner of all seven zones instructing them to not allow any such event on the promenade inconveniencing the public and tourists. “Henceforth no permission shall be granted for conducting any exhibition, commercial activity, fair, that hinders public enjoyment of promenade or the open walkways, footpaths, service road opposite the Marine drive promenade,” the letter stated.

It specifies that only in exceptional circumstances, permission to hold any event would be granted and it would be given after recording reasons in writing. Elaborating on the order, Mehta said: “Many residents have complained about this and it is observed that permissions are granted at the assistant commissioner’s level for conducting various kinds of fairs, rally, exhibitions (Plant/ flower or book). Holding such events on or opposite the promenade has been affecting grandeur view of city’s skyline, which people come to enjoy from far off places.”

He added: “Very few mega cities in the world can be proud of such an open space.  The idea is to ensure more and more public spaces are  made available, and to protect public spaces that are  already available.”

According to a senior BMC official, permission was granted to hold an exhibition by a women’s organisation opposite the open gymnasium towards Charni Road earlier. After residents’ complaints, permission was denied and the event had to be cancelled.

It is not the first time that an event blocking public access to the promenade has been cancelled. But this time the
BMC commissioner has put it on record.

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