Mumbai civic body, drafting policy to save open public spaces


By Accommodation Times Bureau

Mumbai: BMC- for the first time- has decided to set a separate policy on how gardens and playgrounds should be developed in the next 20 years under the Development Plan. The chief reason behind it is to ensure politicians-builders do not pinch the rules to snaffle public open spaces in the name of maintaining them.

In the new DP,the BMC has put forth proposal of creating playgrounds and gardens on around 4,000 acres of land (equivalent to 200 Oval Maidans), besides old-age homes, working women’s hostel and affordable housing. So authorities need to have detailed guidelines on the size, use and maintenance of these places. Besides, the policy will spell out the specific purpose for which an open space is reserved in the DP.

This plan has to come up as a result of what the politician did in the DP 1991-2012. Politicians took advantage of a clause in the Development Plan, which had allowed construction on a part of open space. Politicians came up with a caretaker policy in that period, and public open spaces were allotted to various trusts and institutions (many of them connected with politicians) for maintenance. And soon many of the spaces were commercially exploited.

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