The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s plans to encourage residential townships in Mumbai’s neighbourhood at the cost of open spaces have been kept on hold after the members of the authority’s governing body on Tuesday refused to allow land in 27 villages in Kalyan and Ambarnath and 51 villages in Bhiwandi to be de-reserved.
The move will reduce the open spaces by at least 60% and cause severe strain to the region’s infrastructure. The members wanted to know how the MMRDA would raise Rs20,000 crore to develop infrastructure in the area.
The state had appointed the MMRDA as the Special Planning Authority for 27 villages from Kalyan and Ambarnath in Thane district in 2006 and for 57 villages in Bhiwandi in 2007.
The MMRDA had proposed a new development plan for the area, under which it suggested increasing the commercial and residential zones in the area and reducing open spaces. “Under the proposal, residential zones will increase from 10% to 30% while barren land and open spaces will drop from 70% to 10%,” said BJP corporator and MMRDA member, Ashish Shelar.
As the special planning authority, the MMRDA has the powers to decide land usage in the region by drawing up a new development plan. In Bhiwandi, of the 14,440 hectares under it, the planning body proposed to increase the residential zone from 525.68 hectares to 4,095.85 hectares and the commercial zone from 371 hectares to 2,685 hectares.
In Kalyan, too, the MMRDA proposed that the residential zone be increased from 497 hectares to 1,980 hectares and the commercial zone from 110 hectares to 540 hectares. The buzz was that the proposal was meant to benefit certain builders who had purchased huge tracts of land in that area.
The MMRDA claimed that the proposal will help the region’s development. “We have appointed a study group to examine the project.
We will also clarify the issues in the next meeting,” joint metropolitan commissioner SVR Srinivas said.