Being located at prominent places in the city, traffic islands are ideally suited to be maintained with proper greenery so that jaded eyes of city slickers may get some visual relief. However, instead of maintaining them itself, NMMC has conveniently passed on the buck to corporates. In most cases, the primary objective of these corporates is to garner as much publicity as possible hence most of these islands, for want of proper maintenance, look like eyesores.
In Vashi and Koper Khairane almost all the corners of streets and circles have been allotted by NMMC to some or the other private or social organization to ensure that they are well-maintained. In return, the concerned organization is allowed to put up its name on the said traffic islands.
Unfortunately, after handing them over the corporation seldom turns back to check whether these are being maintained or not. The organization which takes up the responsibility only concerns itself with the publicity and fails in keeping them clean and green, says Bharat Samant, social activist and former member of Tree Authority of Navi Mumbai.
Samant further stated “The responsibility of keeping the city clean and green is both of citizens as well as the administrative authority. Tree Authority which is supposed to help maintain the islands used to be headed by a commissioner along with residents as its core members. This was the time when the residents could directly take decision in coordination with the higher authorities and take care of the waste lands by transforming them into a green patches filled with trees. One example is the green belt in Sector-29 of Vashi. This was done when the residents were part of the body and it is still being sustained”.
“Unfortunately the structure of the body was changed now its core members are corporates who are busy enough for businesses where there is big money. This has started affecting greenery of the city. The corporation must restart the old practice of making residents members of the Tree Authority and only then the Navi Mumbai will sustain its greenery or else it will only remain a concrete jungle,” adds Samant.
One of the officials of tree department informed “There is no proper policy on what is the amount of publicity area one can utilize or what is the way the island or the circles must be kept, etc. However, last month the then Standing Committee chairman Sandeep Naik had ordered the administration department to prepare a policy and implement the same. And accordingly once the elections are over a formal policy will be prepared and implemented”.