Activists and experts welcomed the civic chief's steps to review the existing land use (ELU) survey findings, and called for urgent and concrete steps to ensure the revision of the development plan (DP) has a stronger foundation. They demanded more citizen participation in verifying the ELU survey, a move they claim will help detect errors and irregularities more efficiently.
"While a review is good, the BMC chief needs to order a physical verification of the site and compare it with the ELU. For this, the BMC needs to involve local ward-level officials and active citizens so that this process is democratised," said Chembur-based activist Rajkumar Sharma.
"There are two things we expect the BMC chief to do: first, update the 1991 DP and reconcile it with the ELU; second, verify and reconcile all 1,200 instances individually," said Pankaj Joshi, executive director, Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), which conducted the study that exposed the discrepancies. "The BMC must get its ward committees to discuss the ELU and have citizens coming over and making inputs."
On Saturday, civic chief Sitaram Kunte assured citizens that amenities such as open spaces and environmentally significant no-development zones will not be lost to flawed survey findings. Kunte was reacting to a series of reports published by the Hindustan Times on changes in reservations shown in the ELU survey conducted for the next development plan. Admitting that the revision of the plan was a serious issue, Kunte said a detailed review of the ELU was in the offing. "I shall be reviewing, as a part of my periodical meetings, the revision of the DP and its progress. We shall discuss the issue in detail in that meeting as well," he said.HT has published a series of news reports on the various discrepancies in the ELU. A study conducted by the city-based UDRI found that there were as many as 1,200 instances where the ELU survey's findings did not match the 1991 DP's reservation for those parcels.