Coming up roses: BMC gets 300 e-responses for new garden policy

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has received a ‘bouquet’ of nearly 300 email responses from citizens and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) following its advertisement in newspapers, inviting feedback to draft a new policy for open spaces.

“We have received around 350 emails from the public so far. After reviewing these, we will call a meeting of a few, to plan the draft,” said Jitendra Pardeshi, superintendent of the trees and gardens department.

In fact, citizens have now begun posting their suggestions on social media platforms created by the BMC. The feedback on Facebook page of the trees department, ‘MyBMCGardens’ page is abundant proof of the avid interest of citizens in obtaining more open and green spaces in Mumbai and suburbs.

The BMC has responded: “Dear Mumbaikars and the citizens of the world— Thanks a ton for sharing such amazing ideas. Please be reassured we are going through all the mails and posts received so far. We are super excited to combine all the inputs — whether new ideas or the dos and the don’ts.”

Welcoming this idea, the co-founder of Love Your Parks, Tina Nandi, said the idea of taking suggestions and objections for a new policy on open spaces, gardens, playgrounds is essential, since it is for the people.

“I am really happy with this idea of the BMC to involve the public in the process of policy-making. Every city needs open spaces and once this draft is finalised, the authorities will make it public. We welcome the new commissioner's move to take public opinion and not just impose rules on us,” said Nandi.

On the MyBMCGardens page, Shubhendra Kanade suggested the civic body should ask public to upload photographs and videos. "I feel this is a terrific move by BMC to reach out to citizens to crowdsource ideas and also create transparency. Everyone can contribute, even by sharing video links or pictures and building on each other’s ideas" wrote Kanade.

Meanwhile, green activist Zoru Bhathena welcomed the move by the BMC to make the new policy transparent. "They have asked for suggestions from the public to make a policy, that is a good thing and lots of people have done so.

This entire process of taking into consideration public opinion to incorporate in a fresh policy for the people and then make it public, may be a first for the BMC. It is refreshingly good,” said Zoru.

After the matter was first discussed during the round table with civic officials last year, the BMC had decided to rope in citizens. Among the few important suggestions, an official said, "Citizens do not want compound walls for gardens and want gardens to be visually and physically reachable."

Naina Kathpalia, of NGO Citispace welcomed this move to involve people in this policy. "Once the draft is prepared, the civic body will make it public for final suggestions. BMC has to ensure to allow even outsiders since these are for the public," said Kathpalia.

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