Experts have objected to the BMC’s plan to allow banks, ATMs, shops and dispensaries to operate out of municipal schools as proposed in the Development Plan (DP) 2034. In its newly-released Development Control Regulations (DCR), the BMC has permitted such supplementary uses of municipal schools and other educational institutions.
In a recent conference, education experts said the BMC must give priority to community centres, reading rooms and recreational spaces over commercial outlets.
“Municipal schools have a lack of space. Activities conducted during the non-school hours should be in accordance with the community needs. There can be training centres instead of banks,” said Farida Lambay, co-founder of Pratham, an NGO that provides quality education to under-privileged sections.
“The BMC might want to earn revenue, but commercial shops in educational institutions will be strange,” said Marina Joseph, from the Hamara Shehar Mumbai Abhiyaan, an NGO involved in analysing the DP.
With a paucity of land in the city, the municipality relies on accommodation reservation - where land owners develop amenities and give them to the BMC in lieu of extra Floor Space Index (FSI) or Transfer of Development Rights (TDR), which are development tools.
Civic officials argued that the ancillary activities are in accordance with educational interests. “ We will allow only 10% of the built-up spaces to be utilised for such activities in municipal schools. If citizens disagree, they can file an objection that will be given due credit by the planning committee,” a civic official said.
The DP and DCR 2034 — which map out the city’s infrastructure provisions for the next 20 years — was released on May 27 on the BMC’s website - www.mcgm.gov.in - for citizen scrutiny. Citizens can submit suggestions and objections to the BMC till July 29, after which a seven-member panel will hear each objection personally.