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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Civic body backs down, citizens happy

Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 18, 2013
First Published: 01:32 IST(18/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:34 IST(18/1/2013)

Citizens groups said they were satisfied after the civic body gave in to many demands made by them in a meeting about the much-criticised existing land use (ELU) maps on Thursday.

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Calling the meeting fruitful, Pankaj Joshi, the executive director of Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), said that the meeting was a step forward.

“We are now looking forward to the civic body implementing its announcements soon. Regular meetings with officials and time-bound action are two of our primary concerns, which the BMC has promised to address.”

More than 50 representatives of at least 17 different groups in the city attended Thursday’s meeting. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) development plan department, which has not invited participation from citizens in the formulation of plan before, said it was open to receiving more feedback from them now.

The BMC also agreed to offer more assistance to citizens at the local ward level, by training local officials better.

The lack of clarity at the local wards had invited the ire of several groups as wards had refused to both receive feedback and assist citizens in the scrutiny of the land use maps.

Rajiv Kuknur, chief engineer of the DP department, said a lot of effort had been put into making the maps. Kuknur, in response to HT’s continuous reports had issued a clarification two weeks ago claiming that the ELU didn’t have any errors.

On Thursday, he accepted that citizen groups had valid findings, and that these errors would be rectified soon.

Citizens representing various areas and communities were a part of the meeting, and many asked the civic body for representation in the ELU.

Representatives from the city’s fishing communities called for Koliwadas being marked flawlessly. A study by YUVA had found that there were at least 70 serious mistakes in the way the ELU had mapped the city’s Koliwadas.

The city’s hawkers were represented by the All India Trade Union Congress’ Haidar Imam, who called the ELU unfair for not showing any hawkers on the streets of Mumbai.

Activist Neville Da Silva, working in the K West ward, suggested that action taken on errors found by public scrutiny should be uploaded on the civic website.


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