The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has only three months to decide if it wants to acquire a Dahisar plot that was reserved to build a garden, a playground, a maternity home and a dispensary.
Having failed to develop the 32,385 sq mtr plot — currently occupied by encroachers — the BMC may have to buy it from the owner at a cost of Rs 67.27 crore.
The proposal to purchase seven privately-owned open spaces (five from Andheri, one from Malad, one from Dahisar) from their current owners is on the agenda of the civic improvements committee. The Dahisar plot is divided into three parts and covers an area of 32,385 sq mtr. It has 1,137 structures [1,000 residential and 137 commercial] on it. The other six plots cover an area of about 4,545 sq mtr and will cost Rs 22 crore to acquire.
These open spaces were marked in the Development Plan (DP). Since the civic body has failed to develop these plots, the owners have slapped purchases notices to the civic body.
According to the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act, a plot reserved for public amenities should be acquired by the local government for development as per the reservation mentioned in development plan (DP) within 10 years of approval of city's town planning.
The owner can serve a notice to the corporation under section 126 of the MRTP and ask the civic body to purchase the plot. If the corporation does not purchase the plot, the reservation would lapse, under section 127 of MRTP.
The owner of the plot issued a purchase notice to the BMC on December 27, 2010. As per the rule, BMC must clear the proposal and start the process of acquisition within a year. The deadline for this process is three months from now, i.e. December 26.
However, the BMC is undecided on whether or not it should acquire the Dahisar plot, given that it is fully encumbered by structures. Bhalchandra Shirsat, chairman of the committee said, “The committee will discuss the proposal after visiting the site.”
However, citizen groups said that the BMC must acquire the plot even if it has been encroached upon.
“BMC must acquire the plot and rehabilitate eligible encroachers. The reservation is for civic amenities, which should be given to citizens,” said Nayana Kathpalia, co-convenor of the Citispace. She feared that if the Dahisar plot was allowed to go, it could set a precedent.
Apart from Dahisar, the other six purchase notices have been served between March and May 2011. The committee, therefore, has sufficient time to consider the proposals.