Worried that the city may lose much of its green cover and Mumbaiites may lose out on many civic amenities, individual citizens as well as various groups have initiated the process of scrutinising the recently completed existing land use (ELU) survey, in which at least 1,200 discrepancies have been reported by the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI).
Citizens now also want the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to involve them in the process of the preparation of the ELU and the DP.
The ELU document, which has been prepared by a civic body-appointed consultant, will form the basis for the DP. The DP is the blueprint for Mumbai’s development for the next 20 years, and experts are worried that the discrepancies between the ELU and 1991 DP, which is currently in force, will result in serious flaws in the revised DP.
On Wednesday, the city-based UDRI will hold a meeting with various citizens’ groups on Wednesday to discuss people participation. “The main demand we will be discussing is that the DP revision process be kept open for citizen participation. As a first step, the ELU must be opened up for scrutiny at the local level,” said Pankaj Joshi, executive director, UDRI.
Activists believe that local residents need to step in for a closer scrutiny of the ELU document. Raju Bhise from the organisation, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (Yuva), said participation is needed at many levels. “Firstly, we need citizens to certify and participate and check the authenticity of the ELU survey. Once this done, public participation is required to understand the needs of the common man. The DP should be revised accordingly.”
Farid Hussain, a resident of Cheetah Camp in Mankhurd and member of the Active Intelligent Movement (AIM), has already begun scrutinising the ELU survey.
“There are many amenity plots in the slums at Cheetah Camp, including a huge plot reserved for open space. I’m now looking at the ELU and relating it to the existing realities of the plot’s usage,” Hussain said.
Akshara, a group that works primarily on women’s issues, will be part of the UDRI’s meeting on Wednesday, and is planning another meeting in October to discuss the discrepancies in the ELU, said Dr Nandita Shah, co-director.