Picture this. In a survey that Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) conducted last year across the city, only 22% of those surveyed even knew what a development plan (DP) actually was. Little wonder then, that many experts and activists are finding it tough to gather masses to work in the process of the revision of the DP.
Although the participation of the public has received a big fillip with the civic body allowing a public scrutiny of its existing land use (ELU) plans, citizen groups say they have to first hold awareness camps for locals.
H-west ward federation, an umbrella body of various citizen groups in the ward, is holding meetings for its members, to make them aware of the DP revision process. “Not many people are interested in participating because they don’t know what it is about. The challenge before us is to first make them aware of the process, and then about scrutinising it,” said Anandini Thakoor, chairperson of the federation.
Bhaskar Prabhu, an activist from Mahiti Adhikar Manch, said: “There is very little awareness about the entire DP process, not just among citizens but even among ward-level officials. I will write to the BMC to designate officials in every ward who can explain the DP revision as well as the method of scrutinising the ELU. If they don’t do that, then I am willing to put up stalls at ward offices to explain its relevance.”
Many feel that the civic body too, hasn’t done enough to increase awareness among locals. For instance, many say the maps displayed at the ward office are of little use if they aren’t accompanied with a notice explaining the map’s significance. Activists also felt that since not many had access to the internet, the BMC should make hard copies of these maps available and put them on sale at the wards.