The civic body’s delay in acquiring plots earmarked as open grounds in the Development Plan of 1991 may cost the city Rs 750 crore. Had they been acquired on time, they would have cost less than half the amount.
Several such plots were marked as open spaces when the Development Plan — a blueprint of public amenities and commercial zones — was drawn up. Several such plots were not acquired in the 19 years since.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) must buy such plots from the owners within 10 years of the Development Plan’s release. Otherwise, the owner can send the BMC a notice to buy the land at market price within a year. If the BMC fails to buy the land, the owner can sell it to anybody else. Normally, the BMC waits till the owners issue the notices. During this period, the value of the land shoots up.
In the past few weeks, the BMC has okayed the purchase of at least 12 plots, which could have been acquired years ago at lower cost. The BMC attributed the delay to legal hurdles.