MUMBAI: This could be your last chance to give suggestions or raise objections to provisions of Mumbai’s development plan, which will be in effect for two decades, until 2034.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to release the revised draft development plan (DP of 2014-2034) on Friday. After placing it before the general body for permission as part of the procedure, the DP will be made open for public suggestions and objections for the next two months. It will take at least six more months to complete all the necessary steps and then it will finally be implemented after approval of the state government.
According to civic officials, the DP will be uploaded on the website and its copies will also be made available in wards.
Citizens can view the city’s future plan for the next 20 years, which includes maps of respective wards, development control rules, reservation policies, provisions for open spaces; facilities marked in the plan and send their suggestions and objections to the civic body. The role of citizens assumes significance considering the fact that the BMC and the state government had to cancel the last draft of the DP following a large number of objections raised by the citizens to various controversial provisions in the DP that were not in the interest of the city or its residents. Amidst mounting pressure from experts and citizens, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a revision of the draft DP, which is now ready and a revised draft will be made available for public scrutiny. A panel appointed by the civic body to revise the draft has struck out several controversial provisions such as transport-oriented development and FSI of up to 8.
Significantly, the revised draft DP, too, is being criticised by experts, activists and citizens for opening up the no development zones (NDZ), salt pan land, eco sensitive zones, allowing more construction on land reserved for open spaces. Citizens will now have a chance to scrutinise the revised draft, raise objections to provisions they find troublesome and give suggestions.
Explaining the process of public participation in the DP, a senior civic official said, “The citizens will get two months (June to July) to send their suggestions and objections. Then the state government will form a six-member planning committee, which will hear suggestions and objections raised by citizens. The committee will have three corporators from the standing committee and the remaining four will be from various fields such as urban planner, environment.”
He said: “The hearing will go on for next two months (August to September) and if the issues raised are genuine, then the committee will incorporate it into the revised DP. Then the plan will be put before corporators in the general body and they will get two months (October to November) time for discussion. As a final step, it will be sent to the state government for their final sanction.”
However, if corporators feel the DP has no benefit for public and there are so many errors that could affect city’s development in negative way, then they have right to reject it, said another officer. In such a situation, the state government can take over the DP and sanction it after following the procedure.
Meanwhile, considering the clash of the DP finalisation process with the upcoming civic elections around February 2017, there are chances the political parties would prefer to clear the DP after the elections. A source from the civic body said, “Fearing the criticism and ongoing controversies over the DP, the corporators are likely to avoid sanctioning it before elections.”