In the five months the new government has been in power, most proposals it has put forward have been opposed by citizens. And this is only natural, say activists, as the hundreds of residential groups and ALMs in the city have not been involved in the decision-making process.
Most projects, including Metro-3, BMC’s development plan, Shiv Sena’s 24x7 nightlife proposal, the parking policy, hawking zones and open spaces norms, will first affect the citizen.
“Authorities can no more make plans at their level and push it down people’s throats,” said DM Sukhtankar, former municipal commissioner. “The government need not accept every objection raised, but in cases of projects that affect many people, their opinions count,” he said.
The BMC, however, said every issue is debated after it is put in public domain. “Nobody wants development in their backyards, and this is a major hurdle for us. But we still take most policy decisions after suggestions from corporators and citizens. The parking policy was debated for a year. The development plan will be finalised after suggestions from NGOs and citizen groups,” said SVR Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner.
But according to citizens’ groups, although suggestions and objections are submitted, the authorities go ahead with their own plans anyway. Milind Mhaske, project director at NGO Praja said, “When a policy is formulated, the BMC must present it to the elected representatives, before making it public.”