No clubs, gymkhanas will be allowed on open spaces: BMC

Mumbai : The civic administration has made a new policy for adoption and caretaking of recreational grounds and play grounds. No club house or gymkhanas will be allowed according to the new draft policy for public recreation grounds and play grounds (RG-PG) in the city. Only a few select constructions such as open gymnasiums, gazebos, sitting areas and batting pitches would be allowed under the adoption scheme.

Under the original RG-PG policy, construction in open spaces was severely restricted. Only a space of 10×10 feet, enough for a watchman’s cabin, was allowed on such public plots.

Mumbai’s per capita open space is less than one to two square metres. Of the 1,052 vacant open spaces owned by the civic body, the BMC had already awarded contracts for maintaining around 700 plots, leaving a few for development by private players.

The BMC has decided against more built-up area by way of club houses and gymkhanas and will instead focus only on preserving the few breathing spaces that the city has.

In the original RG-PG policy which was stayed by the state in 2007, large plots were parcelled to caretakers for a minimum lease of 33 years (the adoption scheme stipulates a five-year lease). The caretaker could construct on 25% of the total area if the plot size ranged between 5,000 sq ft and 15,000 sq ft. For larger grounds, 33% construction was allowed. In return, the caretaker was expected to maintain the remaining portion of the ground for public use and charge Rs 2-5 for entry to the ground.

Most of the clubs and gymkhanas on the BMC’s plots are managed by trusts with backing from senior politicians. Civic officials said these are likely to not be included in the new policy. According to civic officials, while approving the new policy, the BMC will revise the policy for existing clubs. The BMC will have to revise some of the terms and conditions in the MoU and create a separate policy for them, they said.

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Fire brigade to be better equipped for high-rises

In a bid to make the fire brigade more capable of combating high-rise fires, the Mumbai Fire Brigade will soon get one more brand new 81-metre hydraulic ladder. The turntable ladder can scale up to 28 floors and has elevated water pumps for firefighting and rescue operations.

The 90-metre hydraulic platform ladder from Finland is expected is to reach the city by the end of January next year.  The civic body is spending Rs 15, 69, 95, 000 for the equipment.

The city has about 6,500 high-rise buildings, more than 70 metres in height. Currently, the Mumbai fire brigade is equipped with a 90-metre and 70-metre ladder which can reach up to 30 and 22 floors of a high-rise respectively. However, with residential apartments and commercial spaces setting new vertical limits, BMC decided to purchase one more hydraulic ladder.

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