2009 - 2010
Erstwhile constituents of NAGAR now amalgamated:
Clean Air (CA); CitiSpace (CS); Clean Sweep Forum (CSF) Newsletter
‘The CS Reporter’, a 16 page illustrated newsletter was put together. The purpose of the Reporter was to disseminate and convey the triumphs and trials of CS’s endeavors to its members as well as informed and concerned citizens at large. Besides giving it to each CS member, the Reporter was distributed at all public meetings and forums where CS put forth its point of view on issues relating to governance and administration of Public Spaces.
The MCGM prepared a draft policy specifically for Hawkers & Hawking in Greater Mumbai based on the GoM’s policy on Street Vendors for Maharashtra. It had invited suggestion /objections from citizens. To encourage citizens to participate in this exercise the Hawker Sub Committee had a detailed discussion on this policy and decided how to make this policy user friendly. CS conducted 3 citizen meetings in the Island City and the Western & Eastern suburbs where the Policy was explained in detail, the English document in an easy column format distributed and questions answered. Citizen groups were encouraged to respond to the MCGM with suggestions/objections.
Recreation Grounds, Playgrounds, Parks & Gardens
- Based on the Bombay High Court Order of 2002, whereby construction of slum schemes is not allowed on open spaces, such as carriage ways, roads, No Development Zones, etc., SRA Schemes for two areas were carefully scrutinized by CS and constructive inputs on both these were made to the Court, such that Reserved Open Spaces which were in danger from being constructed upon under SRA proposals are now protected. For the two Schemes scrutinized by CS
- A student intern with CS was guided by the Coordinator Parul Kumtha to locate and ground truth various cases of SRA Schemes coming up all over Mumbai on designated open spaces to investigate inconsistencies related to open spaces and their usurpation by the developers for construction purposes. All of these spaces were brought to CS’s notice by local citizens and members.
- Whenever required, concerned persons were given guidance and assistance. Some of these cases were:
- Building of a Transit Camp on an RG at Mulund
- Declaring an SRA Scheme on an RG in Parel
- Kirol Village, Ghatkopar (E)
- Mahim (W) –Behind post office Compound
- Borivali (E), 15 minutes from the railway station
- Shastri Nagar, Santacruz (W)
- Near Collector’s office, Bandra, (E)
Phase II of the open space study
- AMCs of several wards were met by CS office bearers, Coordinator and local members to ensure that the Rs.5 crores allocated to each ward for maintenance and greening of the ward’s open spaces were judiciously used.
- Local individuals and organizations were assisted by CS in preparing RTIs, using the information gathered and dealing with local authorities to ensure that reserved open spaces in the neighbourhood are secure and well-maintained. An exemplary example of these efforts is the re-claiming of an RG in A ward by getting the MCGM to demolish an existing kitchen on the site and greening the plot for the purpose for which it is reserved.
During the course of Phase I of the survey of open spaces, some interesting facts were unearthed:
Many Reserved Open Spaces shown in the Development Proposal Plans of Greater Mumbai, which are not in the possession of the MCGM, these could belong to the Collector, MHADA, MMRDA, MSRDC and other government authorities, or are privately owned and are yet to be acquired by the authorities.
In addition, many plots have been acquired in lieu of TDR (Transfer of Development Rights) by the MCGM and even have a board at site indicating MCGM ownership, which are not shown in the DP.
These will be surveyed comprehensively in Phase II. As Phase II of the survey comprises mostly plots that are not acquired by the MCGM although they are ‘Reserved’ as Public Open Spaces in the Development Proposal Plans of Greater Mumbai, intensive ground work is required to acquire data on the location of these plots throughout the 24 Municipal Wards of Greater Mumbai. Once this data, along with landmarks and other guiding details is in place, the survey teams will start the process of visiting the sites to ascertain and document their existing status.
Under Coordinator Parul Kumtha’s guidance, two junior architects started on the process of the survey by enrolling architecture-student teams and providing them with DP Plans and satellite images where the relevant plots were marked. 10 teams began the work on different wards in Greater Mumbai.
2009-2010 saw a spate of public notifications aimed towards ‘minor modifications’ in the DP and the DCRs. As most of these modifications have far reaching effects of the well-being of the City and the citizens, they have been consistently scrutinized and reacted to. CS responded to about 25 suggestions/objections after due consideration of their merits & de-merits.
Air Pollution case
The pollution case was heard in the High Court and was stuck on the issue of the Traffic Restraint Scheme. According to the traffic police this measure would clear 20% of traffic from the roads on any given day. The Government was obdurate regarding this measure and even when the judges had suggested a trial period to test the scheme with regard to pollution control, it was not implemented. CA was a long time advocate of this policy and interacted with Govt. Agencies to follow this route. It is the only method to effectively lessen the use of private vehicles and thereby reduce pollution.
‘E-Waste Awareness Programme’ in colleges: CSF conducted this programme in a number of colleges across the city and it was a resounding success! As part of the programme, e-waste bins were donated to the colleges meant for the collection of discarded electronic items like floppies, CDs, print cartridges, cell phones. These bins carry small panels explaining the hazards of e-waste and also who to contact for e-waste collection. The cost of the bins donated to colleges was met by State Department of Environment and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).