In an unusual scenario, a Congress municipal councillor, Ajanta Yadav of R South Ward, has been been trying to get the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to sanction a yoga centre on a recreational ground, but the ruling dispensation, the alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party — which has gone all out to promote yoga nationally and internationally — and the Shiv Sena has not cleared her proposal, which she first made in 2012.
“While the BMC says it is not opposed to my proposal, the Development Plan (DP) is a stumbling block,” Dr. Yadav said. “When the Prime Minister of the country has been espousing the cause of yoga, I do not see why the BMC, that is ruled by the BJP and Shiv Sena, uses the pretext of regulations to stall such people-centric projects. I was told that non-municipal bodies are not permitted to operate such centres to prevent non-governmental organisations from running such yoga-cum-meditation centres on recreational grounds in Mumbai.”
Dr. Yadav says that in a city like Mumbai, recreational grounds need to be used for the benefit of the maximum number of people “It would be easy to set up Yoga Parlours with funds from the budget available to councillors. The centres could simply be offered on leave and licence agreements of 11 months to the NGOs.”
Dr. Yadav’s proposal had come up before the Improvements Committee meeting held at the BMC headquarters last week. She says, “When the chairman of the improvements committee said that the administration would revert to me on the issue in writing today, it was the final straw. I demanded an immediate response. The deputy municipal commissioner then stated that such centres may be constructed and operated. He added that there is a policy to allow ‘good’ NGOs to run such centres. Why have I been kept waiting for the last four years then?”According to Dr. Yadav, BMC Assistant Engineer S. Pagare said such centres could be built, but a non-BMC body will not be permitted to operate the centre. Dr. Yadav asks, “Can we expect BMC officials to be imparting Yoga lessons, if NGOs are ruled out?”
The Congress councillor has promised to up the ante by raising a point of objection in the forthcoming Standing Committee meeting.