Development Plan row: High FSI for Byculla botanical gardens
In its draft development plan (DP), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has altered the zoo’s reservation and proposed a floor space index (FSI) of 5 for the 60-acre plot.mumbai Updated: Apr 15, 2015 16:32 IST
The fate of the 154-year-old Veermata Jijabai Bhonsle botanical gardens which houses Mumbai’s only zoo hangs in the balance. The reason: In its draft development plan (DP), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has altered the zoo’s reservation and proposed a floor space index (FSI) of 5 for the 60-acre plot.
The plot is spread over only 18% of the area, while 69% of is a botanical garden. Inaugurated in 1833, the garden is one of the largest public open spaces in Mumbai, with more than 3,200 trees of 853 different plant species. It is a listed grade II B heritage structure.
From being marked as a garden, the draft plan has now clubbed it with buildable open spaces such as gymkhanas and clubs, by creating a special sub-category titled ‘Zoo’. This has made local residents suspicious about the civic body’s intent.
They believe such steps will provide a backdoor entry to the civic body’s plans of concretising the green lung. In the past five years, the civic body has, at least twice, tried to push for ‘makeover’ plans for the zoo that were eventually scrapped after opposition by residents.
“The last two DPs showed the plot to be a garden, which protected it from development. Now, by clubbing it along with spaces where construction is possible, the DP is trying to ensure the land is opened up in a covert manner,” said Hutokshi Rustomfram, member of the Save Rani Bagh Botanical Garden Foundation.