Protests, angry letters and constant highlighting of the mistakes may have forced the state government to scrap the proposed development plan (DP), but there are doubts whether the civic body will get it right even the next time.
The question being asked is whether four months are enough for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to make amends to the flawed and controversial plan.
The magnitude of ‘errors’, more conceptual than factual, makes experts believe that the DP may need a complete overhaul, and hence more time.
The DP completely neglects the city’s urban poor — it neither maps nor plans a better life for those living in the city’s slums, koliwadas, gaothans and adivasipadas (tribal hamlets).
Another problem in the DP is the general dilution of planning standards for public infrastructure such as open spaces, education, health care and social amenities.
Experts said a re-think to raise these standards will require work.
Hussain Indorewala, member of the Hamara Shehar Vikas Niyojan and Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture faculty, said the decision was an “interesting” one. “It is impossible to redraw the whole DP within four months. However, this time frame is an opportunity for the BMC to look at changing their fundamental approach. It remains to be seen whether the civic body even attempts to do that.”
The other aspect, which many believe will need more work, is taking into account the infrastructure of areas before allotting the floor space index (FSI).
There is also confusion over how the civic body plans to make the changes. There is a demand that the existing land use (ELU) maps be redrawn. This, however, seems unlikely, as the CM has not asked for the change.
Also being questioned is whether the same consultant, Groupe SCE consortium, who has been given cost and time extensions, will be allowed to continue working on the plan. If not, then will the BMC appoint a new consultant who can draw up the revised blueprint in such a short time?
The BMC has no answers yet, and is waiting to know from the government what changes need to be made. “We don’t know if they want us to simply correct the factual errors or whether they wish to change the fundamental concepts of the DP as well,” said a civic official, not wishing to be named.
The official clarified that the process will take more than four months. “It is likely that we will get an extension and then we will have to get citizens’ feedback. The whole process may take over a year,” he added.