Contrary to the civic body’s claims of 12,000 responses, citizens submitted 84,767 suggestions and objections to the city’s revised development plan (DP) 2034, revealed a reply to an right to information (RTI) query filed by the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), a body of town-planners.
The DP was released on May 27, with a 60-day window for citizens to file their objections. In July, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said it received 9,616 objections to the DP, along with 3,300 objections filed online. The objections submitted multiple times were counted as one, officials said.
Pankaj Joshi, executive director, UDRI, said, “The BMC has artificially reduced the number to undermine public outcry over the DP. Considering the huge number of objections submitted, it is necessary for the planning committee to give a hearing to all citizens.”
There was a public outcry over the earlier draft which was released in February 2015. The civic body had received more than 50,000 objections to the 2015 draft. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had then asked the BMC to revise the draft.
According to the RTI filed by UDRI, the BMC does not have a record of the decision made to club together the objections. According to the data assessed by the institute, the BMC received 81,467 objections plus 3,300 online objections.
“A Dadar resident submitted 5,000 objections on one issue. That does not mean we should call him for a hearing 5,000 times. Similarly, NGOs submitted objections with 500 signatures, but only a few people will attend the hearing,” said a senior DP official. “We cannot confirm the numbers revealed by the UDRI. It is true they had filed an RTI and got information from the register. We have, however, not counted the applications individually.”
The objections filed by citizens on the city’s infrastructure blueprint for the next two decades are to be heard by a planning committee consisting of seven members, four appointed by the state and three political representatives of the BMC. The planning committee, however, has not been formed yet.
While the state government has named three experts, the ruling parties, Sena-BJP, in the BMC are yet to announce the names of the three political representatives in the committee. The proposal to declare the names was deferred in Thursday’s general body meeting.