Mumbai: Guardian Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha to Decide City's Open Space Policy Within Fortnight Amid Controversy

Mumbai: Guardian Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha to Decide City's Open Space Policy Within Fortnight Amid Controversy

The city boasts 349 playgrounds, 404 recreational grounds, and 359 gardens.

Kalpesh MhamunkarUpdated: Tuesday, January 09, 2024, 08:29 PM IST
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Guardian minister Mangala Prabhat Lodha | File

The Guardian Minister of Mumbai Suburbs, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, announced that a decision on the Open Space Policy will be made within a fortnight. Lodha revealed that a meeting was held on Monday with Additional Commissioner Ashwini Bhide, where officers from the Garden department were present. It was decided during the meeting that a decision would be reached in the next fifteen days after discussions with BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal.

"I have forwarded all suggestions received to BMC in a letter, emphasizing the importance of maintaining gardens and ensuring open spaces are not allocated to any specific entity. I proposed that BMC set reasonable rates for specific sports grounds like cricket, football, basketball, or gym facilities, with no restrictions on usage," Lodha stated.

Open spaces in Mumbai

The city boasts 349 playgrounds, 404 recreational grounds, and 359 gardens. The current BMC policy allows private entities to adopt open spaces, such as recreational grounds and playgrounds, to develop sports activities and collect charges.

In contrast, citizens and social activists strongly oppose the policy, alleging it caters to the elite class. Concerns include the potential restriction of entry to common citizens and the poor in these spaces by private entities.

During a meeting last month, where activists and corporators were invited for discussion, Congress corporators caused a ruckus, claiming that Lodha had no authority to conduct such a meeting with BMC officers. They alleged that the BJP's plan was to take control of BMC's open spaces.

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