In a letter to the CM, members of major organizations like NAGAR, Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), WECOM Trust, Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai, OVAL Trust, AGNI, H(W) Ward Federation, Oval Cooperage Residents Association, Advanced Locality Management and Networking Action Committee (ALMANAC), Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens’ Association, Save Rani Baug Botanical Garden Foundation and Napeansea Road Citizens Forum have said that as a rule of good governance, it is important to ensure the cooperation of the general public and that citizens’ groups are consulted at every stage of forming the policy.
Rajkumar Sharma from ALMANAC said the BMC seems to have a hidden agenda in this new policy. “The policy states all applicants for caretaker who applied prior to December 31, 2014, and can prove to have spent Rs 3 crore on the adopted plot, can be upgraded to caretaker status. This is ridiculous as one saw the kind of misuse of plots that happened with the caretaker clause. The clause should be completely removed and there should be no rethink,” said Sharma. Some even took to social media to express their disappointment. Activist and NAGAR trustee Nayana Kathpalia tweeted saying, “@ShainaNC @ShelarAshish Sad day for Mumbai’s public open spaces! We have to ensure a drastic change in policy. HELP!” Activist Vidya Vaidya, secretary of the H-West Ward Federation, said, “The BMC doesn’t seem to be listening to us and therefore we need to make sure that the CM ensures that citizens are heard.” Sayli Udas Mankikar, research fellow, Observer Research Foundation, said, “One is unable to understand the unnatural urgency to implement the policy which will be solely responsible for determining the fate of all open/green spaces of the city. It is an appeal to the MCGM and politicians to deliberate further on this policy.”