The BMC intends to have a policy to give legal rights and possession to private parties on our Open spaces which are owned by us. At a conservative value of Rs. 20,000 per acre it means giving away our land worth over 20,000 crores. In our country possession is de facto ownership. There are many instances in the past where these methods have led to private bodies usurping our Open Spaces on the pretext that they will adopt or take care of our grounds. The reason being given for this 'adoption' of our orphans is:
BMC is not able to take care of these.
Our argument: Instead of giving our grounds on adoption, BMC could maintain these through contractors and without giving any legal rights select NGOs, corporates and citizen's groups to audit and monitor these spaces. Those who have no ulterior motive will gladly do this work.
There are enough examples in the past where parties have usurped the properties or not allowed public access freely.
If a poor man cannot pay for the upkeep of a single room which he owns, he will not give rights and possession to anyone else to maintain it. What is the reason for BMC to do what even a single poor man will not. There may be some good persons manning NGOs, but once possession and legal rights are given, selfish persons with nefarious objectives can start controlling them. What remains with BMC remains with citizens.
A group of over 50 citizens has taken upon itself the task of making our elected representatives work for our benefit and not create third party rights on our Open Spaces. If we do not act now, our children may not have these open spaces.
We have made a website www.satyamevajayte. Info where anyone can access the phone numbers of corporators. Citizens should call up and talk to the corporators and persuade them to drop this policy. We can stop this corruption. Call up more than 10 corporators and argue with them that they should oppose this loot. Get their responses and report them with your name on this website at http://satyamevajayate.info/volunteer-efforts-report
This is your chance to help promote transparency and accountability and make your voice heard!
If the councillors go against our interests in this matter we will take this citizen campaign in the next BMC election and campaign to defeat those who allow our Open Spaces to be kidnapped.
For any questions, please mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
former Central Information Commissioner