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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

BMC’s concrete plan: No cement in gardens

 In an endeavour to add to the city's minuscule green spaces, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has promised to develop city gardens without the use of cement, paver blocks and tiles.
   Over the next six months, the civic body will develop and beautify 171 existing gardens across the city using the 'No-Cement' or 'Cement-Free' concept.
   Before the end of May, the BMC will issue tenders for three-year ward-wise contracts to develop and maintain the gardens. One of the main tender conditions is that cement won't be used for anything other than repair work of boundary walls and a small slab to install slides and swings in the children's play area.
   As part of this initiative, the BMC will try and discontinue the practice of using tiles or paver blocks for jogging tracks and walkways; these will now be created with soil, pebbles and clay bricks. "We will take care that the track doesn't sink in and keep adding earth and levelling it periodically," said a civic official.
   Civic officials claimed that by adopting these measures, the BMC will be able to add 150 acres of green spaces in the city.
   "Contractors are expected to complete the development in six months starting with the monsoon and then maintain them," said S S Shinde, joint municipal commissioner.
   Apart from reducing the use of cement, the BMC hoped the increased use of soil will help rainwater seep into the ground so that there is little requirement to water the green cover and also ensure that trees get enough space to spread their roots. The use of concrete interrupts the growth of roots and weakens trees.
   The BMC's idea of developing theme gardens in the past met with opposition from the greens as it required a lot of construction. But the civic body now intends to develop theme gardens by modelling grass. It will also choose trees that have a botanical value to aid students.
   Civic officials said this initiative will help curb the malpractice of contractors billing the BMC for changing paver blocks and tiles in the gardens every three months.
   "In reality, they just keep replacing the same tiles and paver blocks and send us fresh bills. Now with a complete ban on use of these items, there will be no scope for them to continue with this practice," said the official.

Times View: Don't cow down to contractors' lobby    

The BMC initiative to discontinue the use of cement in the development and beautification of 171 gardens across the city must be appreciated by one and all. A word of caution, though: It should not turn out to be yet another people-friendly project that the BMC announces with much fanfare but falters in implementation. The decision not to allow paver blocks and tiles will hit the contractors' lobby which will try and subvert the attempt. The BMC should stick to its ground and ensure the greening of gardens is done without a hiccup.



The BMC has lined up a green initiative to develop 171 gardens across the city over the next three years. For the purpose, the civic body will:

Award contracts for development & maintenance of gardens using a 'No-Cement' or 'Cement-Free' concept Add a clause in the tender that cement will only be used for repair work and for a small slab on which playing equipment has to be installed in the children's area Ensure walkways and jogging tracks are created using soil, pebbles and clay bricks


Conserve depleting green spaces Facilitate seepage of rainwater into the ground Space for tree roots to spread sans concrete More costeffective initiative

NATURE WALK: Concrete paths in city gardens will soon be in the past

We are trying to increase green spaces by reducing the use of cement in the development of gardens. By taking up this policy in the development of 171 gardens, we will add approximately 150 acres of green land in the city S S Shinde |


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