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Development Plan: Final step for BMC will be giant step for Mumbai 

The draft plan has been in the public domain since May 2016.

mumbai Updated: Mar 07, 2017 12:18 IST
The revised draft DP report comes with 2,245 changes as recommended by the committee after hearing Mumbai citizens’ suggestions and objections since November last year.
The revised draft DP report comes with 2,245 changes as recommended by the committee after hearing Mumbai citizens’ suggestions and objections since November last year.(Pic for Representation)

The long-pending Development Plan (DP) report, which will act as a blueprint for your city’s growth over the next 20 years, was submitted to the incumbent mayor, Snehal Ambekar, on Monday by the six-member planning committee appointed by the state government.

The revised draft DP report comes with 2,245 changes as recommended by the committee after hearing citizens’ suggestions and objections since November last year. The draft plan has been in the public domain since May 2016.

The committee suggested doing away with the controversial zoning of No Development Zones (NDZ), and instead recommended categorising this land openly as Special Development Zones I and II. These lands will be opened up for redevelopment, primarily for affordable housing and civic amenities. It also means that areas marked as NDZs will no longer be restricted areas or protected from development.

The committee has also proposed use of transfer of development rights (TDR) in industrial zones.

Facing flak from citizen activists, the report has created a special zone for protection of Aarey as ‘Green Zone’. Although it has not barred development of the proposed Metro car shed, the zoo and existing resettlement.

However, the two political nominees from Sena in the committee registered their opposition to the construction of the Metro car shed at Aarey.

The proposed development of the Eastern Waterfront on the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) land has also been given cognisance in the report, with the committee recommending special development control rules for this area, which will be categorised as port operational zone and port waterfront zone.

The planning committee, which comprised of three bureaucrats and three elected representatives, has now created eight zones for the city from the earlier five.

The report has also recommended an increase of open spaces standard from 3.51 square metre per person to 3.77 square metres per person.

It has also suggested that the name of Development Control Regulations (DCR) be changed to Development Control and Promotion Regulations (DCPR) in order to market the civic body’s various policies on land acquisition and development.

Of all the proposals, the two significant ones are the TDR one and NDZ one.

Allowing use of TDR in industrial zones means additional Floor Space Index (FSI) can be granted as compensation to owners giving up the land anywhere in the city. FSI refers to the ratio of the total buildable area to the size of the plot, and often indicates how high a developer can build. Currently, the draft DP only allowed FSI of 1 for development of industrial areas.

A senior civic officer, said, “If a reservation of public amenity is marked in an industrial area, according to the draft DP there was no provision of compensating the loss of development right. The committee has now allowed use of TDR 1 in industrial area, anywhere in the city.”

In respect of the NDZ proposal, the SDZ I land refers to 248 hectares of land encumbered with slums and other settlements on NDZ land, whereas SDZ II forms of another 1,773 hectares of land parcel, which is non-encumbered NDZ land. The redevelopment of SDZ I will include certain mandatory provisions for open spaces, while SDZ II will be opened up for social or affordable housing in line with the state government’s plan.

Explaining this, a civic official said, “Earlier, although the draft DP identified slums on NDZ plots, they could not be developed under the affordable housing provision, which would have meant loss of amenities. Thus to make sure even development of slums on NDZ plots contributes to city’s amenities, the NDZs have been divided into two.”

The planning committee has proposed 80 hectares more to the affordable housing reservations, which will mean more amenities through the affordable housing scheme. The committee has also suggested online lottery system of Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (MHADA) tenements as the basis for BMC to implement affordable housing.

Pankaj Joshi, executive director of the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), said categorising the NDZ areas is a more pragmatic way of dealing with the issue. “It is definitely a way more practical approach than the current NDZ norms, which would have not resulted in slum development. By looking at two ways of creating affordable housing, we are saving environmental assets and also giving a chance to slum areas to develop.”

These recommendations along with the DP report will be debated by the 227-corporator-led general body of BMC that has to pass the plan by March 20, 2017. It will then be forwarded to the state government for a final consideration and clearance.

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