This time, when the planners of the civic body sit down to prepare a development plan (DP) for the city, they will be forced to complete the entire exercise within four-and-a-half years.
The state assembly, on Thursday, cleared the amendment to the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966, which aims to prescribe a time limit of four and a half years to draft the blueprint for the city’s development.
On an average, civic bodies take 10 years to prepare the development plan, which lays down guidelines on land use and reservation of land in the city. However, by the time it is ready, the situation in the city becomes vastly different, which makes the whole planning futile.
In 1991, the BMC body took 14 years to get the DP finalised. However, with the plan set to expire this year, the civic authorities need to pull up their socks to complete the exercise in time.
The three stages of preparing a development plan involve preparation of a land-use plan, approving the plan and submitting it to the state government for final approval.
Recently, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had to pay crores of rupees to save six open spaces in places such as Juhu and Dahisar after it came to light that the reservation was about to lapse.
The cost of the land increases due to the delay in acquiring the plot. It is alleged that the owners of the plots or developers benefit if the civic body fails to acquire plots earmarked for public amenities.
The BMC will spend about Rs80 crore of taxpayers’ money for acquiring seven more open spaces in Juhu, Mazgaon and Dahisar.
However, the time-limit for the implementation of the DP means that the civic amenities such roads, parking lots, gardens, pumping stations, etc will be built on time.
“Often the DP process is lengthened on purpose. After a plot is reserved for any public amenity such as a road or open space, the owners want to delay the process of acquisition. By the time the DP is cleared, this land is encroached upon,” said a senior urban development department official on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The official said the four-and-a-half year limit will make the DP more realistic. The bill still needs a nod of the Legislative Council.