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  BMC’s dilemma: Regularise or raze encroachments

BMC’s dilemma: Regularise or raze encroachments

Published : Oct 3, 2016, 1:54 am IST
Updated : Oct 3, 2016, 1:54 am IST

The BMC is yet to take back about 90 open spaces out of the 216 initially given out by the civic body

OPEN-SPACE.jpg
 OPEN-SPACE.jpg

The BMC is yet to take back about 90 open spaces out of the 216 initially given out by the civic body

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is in a fix over whether to demolish encroachments on its open spaces or continue using them. Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta introduced an interim open spaces policy permitting third party private players to maintain Mumbai’s open spaces, still there is no clarity among civic officials regarding the fate of the unauthorised illegal structures that are on them. BMC sources admitted that almost 80 per cent of the open spaces given out on caretaker basis have some or the other encroachment.

Sources in the BMC said, “Some of the encroachments are public utilities, and we may retain them, based on their usefulness. We will have to involve the building proposal’s department and the respective ward to legalise these structures for retaining them. Otherwise they will be demolished.”

The structures include public toilet blocks, sports courts, swimming pools, and even clubhouses or resting areas. Meanwhile, the departments in-charge of taking back these open spaces from private entities have not confirmed what kind of action will be taken against the private players who have breached their agreement with the civic body and illegally constructed on the plot. Officials do not know what kind of penalty can be levied against the private organisations.

The BMC is yet to take back about 90 open spaces out of the 216 initially given out by the civic body. When prominent city-based activists visited Ajoy Mehta last week, they were assured that the civic body would send notices to the 90 plots soon. However, while the new interim open spaces policy is yet to be passed by the group leaders in the

BMC, there is no clarity on the fate of the plots once they are taken back by the BMC. It may have to appoint fresh contractors for maintaining these plots, while the decision on the interim policy is made.

The civic body already has already taken possession of 126 plots of the 216, and appointed fresh contractors to maintain them. If these plots are given out again as per the new policy, the BMC will be forced to use the contractors’ services elsewhere.