<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BMC’s general body on Thursday passed a policy for the maintenance of municipal recreational grounds/playgrounds (RG/PG). The long-pending policy stipulates that everyone should be granted access to plots, without any discrimination.The other highlights of the policy are: developed civic plots should be given to caretakers for maintenance only for a period of 11 months and no commercial or political events should be organised on civic plots.Deputy Municipal Commissioner D Kshirsagar said, “The policy allows any person, residents associations, NGOs, and private firms, to become caretakers.””However, a committee will be set up under the chairmanship of additional municipal commissioner, and it will pick caretakers from among applicants. The duration and renewal of contract will also be decided by the committee,” Kshirsagar said.There have been several instances wherein municipal plots maintained by private parties, especially firms owned by politicians and caretakers, have discriminated while granting entry. They have even rented civic plots for commercial activities. In view of such practices, the BMC last year decided to take back a total of 216 RG/PG plots handed over to private parties and appointed care takers or maintained them on its own.On Thursday, the Congress party expressed its disappointment, citing that the BMC general body passed the RG/PG policy without any discussion.The Opposition leader in BMC, Congress corporator Ravi Raja, said, “The BMC has failed to take back 60 plots which are maintained by BJP and Shiv Sen bigwigs. Before passing the RG/PG policy, they should have first taken possession of all the 216 plots; that would have ensured proper implementation of the policy guidelines. Now, it is unclear whether the 60 plots will be maintained by the same parties and whether the RG/PG policy norms will be applicable to them.””The mayor has silently passed the policy without putting it up for a debate. This shows his favoritism towards the BJP and Shiv Sena leaders who are the caretakers of municipal plots. The policy has been passed under pressure from the chief minister,” Raja alleged.Another Congress corporator, Ashraf Azmi, noted, “The corporation did not give us a chance to present our views on the policy. The Congress party is not in favor of the policy; after discussion with senior leaders, we will reopen the proposal for detailed discussion”.”When the BMC has funds to maintain its plots, why does it need private caretakers,” Azmi added.Considering that many corporate firms are owned by political leaders, there are chances that civic plots may go to political leaders again for maintenance. However, if the Congress decides to reopen the policy, for discussion in the BMC, it remains to be seen how soon the policy will be implemented.

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Setback for citizens on civic open space policy