As the deadline for submitting suggestions and objections to the recently released development plan (DP) 2034 nears, a growing number of urban planning experts and activists are demanding an extension from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The DP, blueprint for Mumbai’s development over the next 20 years, was made public by the BMC on May 28 and citizens were given 60 days to study and make suggestions and objections.
The last day for submitting them is July 29. After this, a seven-member panel (three from BMC’s standing committee and four state-appointed experts) will hear the suggestions on a case-to-case basis.
Activists, however, say that they need more time to go through the exhaustive 800-plus-page document. Sabah Khan, from Hamara Shehar Mumbai Abhiyaan, said, “It is very difficult to reach communities and explain the implications of the plan in such a short span of time. We would require at least another month.” The Abhiyaan has been conducting consultation workshops on the plan.
The Urban Development Research Institute (UDRI), a body of town planners, has also written to the municipal commissioner and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis demanding an extension. Pankaj Joshi, executive director, UDRI said, “The documents are vast and technical. It is very difficult for common citizens to understand and reflect on the plan so early. If the State really wants the citizens’ opinions, then they must extend the deadline.”
The BMC has also not got much response from citizens on the new DP. Till July 4, the civic body has received only 1,308 suggestions and objections. Most of these, 604, were filed by citizens from the western suburbs. Citizens from the island city and the eastern suburbs submitted 225 and 395 suggestions and objections in the last one month.
The earlier DP had invited the ire of citizens who submitted more than 50,000 suggestions and objections in the same time-window.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis asked BMC to revise the DP in April 2015 following a backlash from citizens and experts.