Up in arms against the planning committee for the development plan (DP) 2034, which plans to hear 10,297 objections raised by citizens in less than a month, citizen groups have approached municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
According to an RTI query filed by the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), the DP has received 84,000 suggestions and objections. In a schedule released last week, the BMC has fixed meetings with government agencies, politicians and builder associations before inviting citizens. The recently-formed committee is currently hearing the suggestions and objections from railways, police and MMRDA, among others.
The UDRI and the Hamara Shehar Mumbai Abhiyaan (HSMA) want the panel to give more time to citizens.
HT had reported the committee has set unlikely targets of completing hearings for 10,297 citizen objections in 21 days. According to an analysis done by the UDRI, the committee, which will be working for around five hours a day in the next two months, will get only 30 seconds per hearing.
Pankaj Joshi, executive director of UDRI, said, “The time allotted is inadequate to hear the objections filed by thousands of concerned citizens. The time spent on hearing the objections will decide the future of Mumbai.”
Calling it a sham, the UDRI, in the letter, cites section 28 (3) of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act (MRTP) in the letter which states: “The planning committee…shall give a reasonable opportunity of being heard to any person.”
The HSMA, a group working towards an inclusive DP, has called the move another attempt by the government to create “an illusion of consent by citizens”.
The group has demanded an extension of three months and want equal hearing for every objection, as per the MRTP Act.
Sitaram Shelar, from HSMA, said, “The BMC thinks citizens do not have technical knowledge and they don’t understand the plan. So they assume their objections hold no merit. What is the point of giving a hearing to people from the system, who have drafted the plan, before citizens?”
The committee has already received an extension till December 16. The original submission date for the committee was November 26. A senior civic official said, “It is for the planning committee to decide if they want another extension. However, there cannot be further delays as the city has already been without a DP for two years.”