The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) garden department is a department which has the authority over 877 plots all over Mumbai as well as authority over more than 19,00,877 trees . As in the year 2008-2009 the garden department planted 19,00,877 tress. The garden deparment is divided in three department according to the areas, they are city with 234 plots , west with 433 plots and east department with 210 plots . The objective of the department is to reduce pollution ,create healthy environment for the citizens.How does the BMC garden department develops garden: According to the words of the BMC garden department officials, to built garden it reqires planning and keeping the mind the area of the garden as well as the materials, a expenditure sheet is prepare to finalise the plan. The garden department prepares gardens equally in terms of expenditure and structure in all areas of Mumbai irrespective of the locality , class and standard of the people. The gardens are develop according to the reservation of land , population in the area, open spaces available before and after the development of the garden.Thus the garden department always tries for maximum development considering the open space concept.
The department develops a jogging track for the youngsters, children corners and nani park for the senior citizens. The garden department used to allow the adaptation and development of the garden to various NGO’s and private firm on the open space land which are available in the city and which are not included in 877 plots of BMC garden department. If the owner breaks the rules or uses the garden area for illegal activities then the BMC takes control of the garden , confiscating the rights from the owner.
The department also used to approach to various private firms for the sponsorship and maintenance of the garden, but now the state government has put a halt to this policy Many gardens are adopted, but even then the BMC garden dept is blamed for the bad conditions of the gardens, so hence-forth the BMC garden dept has stopped the policy of adoption. Silmilarly the BMC blames the people for the bad condition of the gardens in slums areas, stating that the conditions of the gardens depands upon the nature of the users.Thus the BMC develops garden in this order Planning, Executing the plan, Finalizing, Funding, Building, Maintaining. The overall procedure takes duration of around 3years to complete a single garden. Works of the BMC garden department: According to the statics we gathered from the BMC garden department, total plots available is 877 allover Mumbai, including Eastern Western and City.
Now it was in 2007 that the garden department took steps to develop the plots at a faster rate due to continuous complaint by the people staying in the areas ofAndheri, Juhu and from suburbs.Neglected and forgotten, small open spaces in the city’s various neighborhoods had become the favorite haunts of drug addicts and anti-social elements. So it was obligatory from the side of department to develop the plots as soon as possible and to turn it into gardens, playgrounds and recreation grounds.
BMC spent at around 100crores to develop 84 gardens in 2007. Funds provided for redevelopment were increased from 10 lakhs to about 1. 1crore as said by Mr. Rao (vice superintendent, Garden Department). Presently as per data more than 50% of the plots are well developed into Gardens, Playgrounds and Recreational parks.Some of the examples are Nandadeep garden, Bandra; Cooperaje garden. The residents of Haridas Park, Dahisar (W), now have a one-acre park right in the middle of the dense residential locality.
Earlier, the plot was just a wasteland. But now residents come for their morning walks and children play here in the evening. The Ramesh Nagar garden, which is a three-acre plot with a natural slope, is developed with one part as a garden, another as a play area for children below 12 years of age and a section to play cricket and football. It has taken the BMC 20 years to get started on it.Other example is of the newly developed ‘Guru Govind Singh Udyan ‘ in vikhroli which was a completely undeveloped open space and was left unused, but after the development of garden it has turned into a very beautiful and recreational ground, where in morning and evening time people from nearby areas come for a walk and to refresh themself. The department has taken up the redevelopment of Rani Baug which cost re 440 approx. But even after such a development of these plots, there are still more that 300 plots to be developed into gardens by BMC.
Now taking 3 years as an ideal time to complete a single garden in any ward,we can conclude that still Mumbaikars have to wait for a long time to find gardens all over Mumbai. An approximate 900crores budget is needed for this development. The department also plant around 1 lakh trees a year ; for this they involve agencies or organizations like :- MMRDA,MSRDC,Airport authority, Aareycoloney, BARC, Educational institutions.
That was just about the developing cost of the plots and trees. If studied more deeply, the fund provided by the BMC to each ward for the maintenance of the gardens is 1cr approx. As per the data given by ‘N-Ward’ Vice-horticulture officer).
But as per 2007 press release it was sanctioned to give 5 crore amount to each ward only as maintenance cost and was brought to action. No further information was disclosed by any one regarding the funds provided by BMC. So we can conclude that BMC spends a minimum amount of 25crores approx. only for maintaining gardens in a year (as per the department’s calculation). So if all plots get developed into gardens or recreational park the total maintenance cost which will be incurred by BMC per year will be at least 50 crores per year.
Other information of bmc garden department: The BMC garden department only Charges- re. 1 par sapling . The department does not levis any tax on those who wants to develop nursery.
The department also conduct Tree census- once in 5 yrs. The garden department gives permission to the builders to cut the trees in the area where the builder is developing towers but on one condition is that the builder should develop 15 % of green patch in the area where he is building the towers. Analysis and Criticism: After the visiting the BMC garden deparment in Byculla , we all visited the N-ward in Ghatkopar and met R.K. Singh (head of the garden department in N-ward). As been stated by Mr R. K Singh there are total 36 plots in the N-ward area and according to him accept for one plot named keshav Baliram Hedge Udyan was under initial stage of development and will developed as a theme garden, apart from that all the plots are developed.
Among them he named some of the developed gardens , 1) Rajawadi garden 2) Kesarwala garden 3) Lions clubs garden 4) Saint Gadge Maharaj Udyan. According to the Mr Singh , a team from the N-ward do visits each and every garden which are in N-ward every week.We all decided to visit all above mentioned gardens in the N-ward , we founded that the department has developed all the gardens consisting with jogging track, children circle and nana-nani park for the senior citizens. LIONS CLUB GARDEN, GHATKOPAR As Mr singh had stated that a team from the N-ward do visits each and every garden which are in N-ward every week but we got to know from the garderner of Rajawadi garden and Kesarwala garden that the officers do come once in two –three months for the supervision. RAJAWADI GARDENWhereas garderners of the Lions club garden were accepting the words that Mr Singh had said to us. We also noticed that in all the gardens plants like Ashoka ,Gulmohar,Peltoforuma .
etc plants were planted , all this plants are all fast growing plants. In some of the garden we also founded the Benches are broken and there is no departmental officers to look over it . KESARWALA GARDEN We also founded one garden which do comes under the N-ward named as Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Udyan, the condition of the garden was horrible .As Mr Singh had said to us that only one garden was under construction that was Keshav Baliram Hedge Udyan in the N-ward but this garden was not even under construction as we founded from people from the nearby area that the garden is in the same condition since a year. Dr. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR UDYAN While interviewing Mr Rao stated that the garden deparment are mostly concentrating on theme parks for the people, now City’s open spaces have taken a back seat on the priority list of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) this year.As per the civic body’s budget estimates for 2010-11, there will be no new gardens developed in the city this year due to paucity of funds. | The announcement comes as a stark contrast to the Rs5-crore provision made for open spaces in each ward in the 2009 budget.
Municipal commissioner Swadhin Kshatriya in his budget statement,said: “It is not an obligatory duty of the BMC to create and maintain gardens. With the backdrop of the current delicate financial situation of the BMC, it has become mandatory to exercise a stringent control over such discretionary duties.This would lead to paucity of funds required for performing obligatory duties of the BMC in the future. ” Thus, the civic body will withhold all new projects, like theme gardens, but will complete ongoing projects that have been taken up in 2009.
As reducing pollution,healthy enviornment and to provide open spaces are the objective of the department. This objectives can also be provided by developing basic gardens , when this basic garden can provide open spaces to the people for various needs , is there any need to develop theme gardens which requires huge funds.As gardens are the lungs of the city it does not make a difference to the city as well as to the people, as both the gardens does the same job of reducing pollution, providing healthy environment but it is the expenditure that matters because the entire expenditure belongs to the people and such non mandatory expenditures should be halted.
Similarly Rs 18 crore,garden in under construction on a seven-acre plot at Poonam Nagar, Andheri-E, as part of its efforts to create more open spaces in the city.It is a clear waste of public money as, On an average, it costs Rs 11 lakh to develop and maintain a one-acre plot for a year and that includes fencing, construction of a gardeners’ chowky, besides the landscaping, from 18 crore the BMC can develop 70 acres of land. Last year ,the BMC had taken Annual Tree Plantation drive for which they spended lakhs of rupees. The civic body had planted over 650 trees,306 in the western suburbs, 125 in the eastern suburbs and 219 in the island city. they plant about 6,300 trees on roads and open spaces.They also distributed one lakh saplings to NGOs and citizens, The BMC had made a budgetary provision of Rs 10 crore for installing tree guards, Rs 50 lakh to develop greenery in every ward, Rs 50 lakh to provide enough water to maintain the green space. When officials say they plant trees, they really mean small saplings.
The survival rate of these small trees is very low as they are not properly tended,, the way they must be and they are been planted during monsoon, Trees need time to get acclimatised to normal conditions before they are exposed to continuous rains.Planting trees in the middle of the monsoon is hazardous to their lives as a result not more than 10 percent of the saplings remain alive,the saplings should first be nurtured in nurseries. Once they grow up to a height of eight to 10 feet, they should be planted. Tall trees do not need to be constantly looked after,.
Even in this case money is wasted due to lack of expertise As per the National building norms, there should be 4 acres of open space per thousand people but we have just 0. 3 acres of open space per thousand people. The best example of that is Rajawadi garden, which has a area of 350 metres which means 0. 08648688351350788 Acres that’s not even 1 acre. Thus the BMC garden department is one kind of department which wants to work for the betterment of the citizen but there is lack of expertise among the officials. Due to which money is wasted, a plot is used for the namesake of open spaces.