The Development Control Regulations (DCR) 2034 -- published on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) website last week -- fails to protect open spaces on private layouts.
While the DCR makes it mandatory for developers to retain 25% as recreational open space for areas over 10,000 square metres, the civic body has retained the clause of allowing construction on recreation grounds in private layouts.
Developers can construct on 15% of the open space area in a newly-constructed private layout of over 10,000 sqmts for recreational purposes.
As against this, construction of only ancillary facilities such as toilets and watchman’s cabin, among others will be allowed on public open spaces.
Civic chief, Ajoy Mehta, said, “We have mentioned in the DCR that no construction will be allowed on public open spaces but we have retained the 15% construction clause on the private layouts.”
Retaining the clause gives developers an opportunity to create members-only clubs and recreational grounds.
However, a civic official speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “We have said in a note in the DCR that recreational grounds on private layouts should be accessible to all the members of the society.”
There are over 100 Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) layouts in the city that have their private recreational grounds, apart from private layouts such as Garodia Nagar at Ghatkopar, Manish Nagar in Andheri West, Lokhandwala complex, Lokhandwala township, Thakur Complex and Thakur village.
Areas where recreational grounds exist in private layouts may lose 15% of their open space to construction of recreational facilities if redeveloped in future.
Executive director of Urban Design and Research Institute, Pankaj Joshi, said, “Open spaces, whether public or private, should be protected. Why allow construction and open it up for exploitation by developers?”
An earlier draft of the DCR 2034, released in February, had faced severe criticism as it had reduced the layout for open spaces to 10% as against the 15to 25% mentioned in the 1991 DCR. Retaining the 1991 DCR, the civic body has now mandated that while developing an area of 1,001 sqmt to 2,500 sqmt, the developer should retain 15% of the space for open spaces in residential and commercial layouts. While developing 2,501 sqmt to 10,000 sqmt, 20% of the area should be retained as open space for the residents. For an area over 10,000 sqmt, 25% of the area should be left as open space.