BMC axes its budget for gardens & parks by 50% | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: While announcing the BMC budget on Wednesday, municipal commissioner Iqbal Chahal said the BMC would come out with a compressive open spaces policy, but in one of the steepest cuts, the budget provision for new parks and gardens has been slashed by over 50% compared to last year. Last year, Rs 254 crore was allocated as part of capital expenditure for the gardens department, while the provision this year is Rs 126 crore.
Because of the cuts in the previous budget, beautification and development of gardens has already come to a standstill, activists and opposition parties said. They fear the fresh cut will further impact development of new gardens and parks.
Of the Rs 126-crore allocation, around Rs20 crore will also be used for construction of swimming pools in Worli, Vikhroli, Andheri (east), Andheri (west), Malad and Dahisar, besides Rs 20 crore for the Miyawaki plantation projects, to create urban forests.
Out of the Rs 254 crore allocated last year, the BMC had cut around Rs 60.3 crore (25%) in the budget amendment made by the general body. BMC officials said from last year’s allocation, the department will actually spend only Rs 121 crore, hence the allocation was cut this year. However, Rs 348 crore of revenue expenditure, which is spent on upkeep and maintenance of existing gardens, has been kept intact.
“Though capital expenditure has gone up by around Rs 5,000 crore in this year’s budget, spending on the gardens department has been cut by 50%. Most of the funds will be used for swimming pools. No new gardens will be created this year,” said Samajwadi Party MLA and corporator Rais Shaikh.
With the old open spaces policy scrapped in 2016 and a new policy for managing the city’s parks and gardens yet to be cleared, NGOs and citizen groups had asked the BMC to fast-track the new policy.

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