The city has lost more than 871 hectares of land — as much as 10 Mahalaxmi race courses — meant for open green spaces and playgrounds to slum clusters because of poor planning and a failure to create affordable homes.
In a first-of-its kind estimate, a survey by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) has shown how the city lost out on land — some reserved under the development plan for various amenities, some tagged as no development zones (NDZ) and some plots protected by Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms. For a land-starved city like Mumbai, implementing these reservations could have made all the difference. The lost land has 30 % more area than that occupied by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT).
The SRA’s survey shows how years of neglecting the importance of building more affordable homes and failing to protect earmarked lands have led to the city’s current state — a shambles without the crucial amenities and open spaces it is supposed to have.
The biggest casualty of these failures, however, are the plots tagged as NDZs. Of the 871 hectares, 368 hectares was tagged as NDZs, either because the plots were environmentally sensitive or authorities wanted to develop them later in a planned manner.
The failure to protect these lands is hurting the environment too — the survey shows 158 hectares of land under CRZ norms have also been occupied by slum structures.
Another 346 hectares was earmarked for open spaces such as gardens, play grounds and recreational grounds.