This is with reference to the news item ‘MUDA asks owners to keep vacant sites clean’ (Star of Mysore dated Apr. 25, 2021). It’s a warning that if the owners violate the conditions in their directive, MUDA (Mysuru Urban Development Authority) will clean on behalf of the owner and include charges in the Property Tax.
Problem: Unkempt vacant private sites within Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) area and in MUDA extensions have always been a perennial problem.
They are a nuisance to the neighbours due to uncontrolled wild growth of weeds, act as dumping ground for garbage/construction debris, breeding ground for mosquitoes, a haven for snakes, defecation area, etc.
The owners have not been able to construct houses for various reasons. Some owners have built compound walls or fenced their sites with a board “this site belongs to… trespassers will be prosecuted” but they seldom bother to keep their sites clean and neat.
Suggestion: Here is a green win-win suggestion that is simple, economical and sustainable. With land owners’ cooperation and citizens participation, vacant plots may be put to useful purposes and will result in the following benefits to the city:
(a) Ensures safety and security of vacant plot on behalf of owner from encroachment, misuse, etc. and the owner need not pay any cleaning charges.
(b) Clean vacant site will not be a visual pollution and will keep the neighbourhood with healthy environment.
(c) Avoid dumping of garbage and/ or building waste material/ debris in such vacant plots.
How it works: These vacant sites may be converted into either mini-parks or kitchen gardens by the environmentally conscious citizens living on either side of vacant plots.
They may ascertain details of owner of the site from concerned authorities, approach him/ her with a written request for his consent to allow using the vacant plot for creating a kitchen garden/ green area with the following undertakings; that they shall
(i) Have no objection whatsoever for the land owner to take back his consent any time and to stop usage of his site by any other person.
(ii) Those permitted shall use the space only for creating a kitchen garden for growing organic vegetables, flowers and greens, all of short duration and shall not be used for planting any species that grow into large trees.
(iii) Not use the space for parking vehicles or for any other purpose.
(iv) Not construct any structures — permanent/ temporary or alter the site area.
(v) Take care of the site on behalf of the owner.
(vi) Area Corporators or officials may cooperate and encourage such green initiatives for successful implementation throughout the city where vacant sites exist. MUDA extensions have many vacant CA sites, unallotted sites and in some industrialised layouts, huge tracts of lands are lying vacant. They may also be considered for such greening initiative.
Horticulture Assistance: Once these formalities are completed, citizens may seek advice / assistance from the Horticulture / Agriculture Department for soil testing and growing seasonal varieties of greens / vegetables / fruits and flowers; for supply of quality seeds and other inputs and also to create mini carbon sinks in the neighbourhood.
MCC can help such citizens by supplying, at reasonable cost, organic compost being produced at their waste composting units across the city through Pourakarmikas in a Ward for use in their green spaces around their homes and in pots in their balconies/ terrace gardens, for improving the air quality in the city. By adopting this innovative green PPP solution, Mysuru city can avoid unhealthy growth of weeds and ensure a clean neighbourhood.
– Vasanthkumar Mysoremath, Environmentalist, Tilaknagar, 30.5.2021
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