Land panel comes up with formula to decide Mumbai's future

  • Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 12, 2014 20:52 IST

In what may be Mumbai's last chance for a better future, a Centre-appointed committee has come up with a formula on how to develop the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) land. This will now be shared with the ministry of shipping.

According to the formula being considered, 30% of the total land opened up must be used to create green and open spaces, including the coastline.

Around 25% should be used for developing transportation facilities, such as a new road network, Metro rail, among other things; another 5% for developing social amenities such as primary health care centres and police stations.

The remaining 40% can be used to create tourist attractions and supporting infrastructure.

As part of the On the Waterfront series, the Hindustan Times started the dialogue about how best to use the land belonging to the MbPT and develop public amenities that will be accessible to all. Experts and concerned citizens gave suggestions on how Mumbai could benefit by opening up of the eastern coastline, which were then shared with the development committee.

This land, sources said, is being recommended for facilities that the city lacks, be it an aquarium, a convention centre or food courts.

A committee member said the idea was “to ensure that no matter how much land is freed up, the city always gets land according to its priorities”. But for some, this may bring back memories of a similar formula used during the sale of the textile mill lands.

According to the development control rules (DCR), which were supposed to govern the sale, the land was to be divided into three equal parts, with two parts being used for open spaces and affordable housing. However, the government tweaked the rule, and only a small portion was used for the city’s development.

Sources said the mixed land use proportion, which is slated to be fixed at 40% of the total land, was necessary to ensure that the rest of it is developed.

“The amenities that will be developed on this land will end up cross-subsidising the cost of developing the port trust lands. While there were demands to jack up this proportion to 60%, the committee has, for now, restricted it to 40% to ensure there is no commercial exploitation,” said a source, close to the development.

The committee, sources said, was finalising the draft report.

Now, the role of the shipping ministry gains importance. “The city must keep its fingers crossed and hope that this formula is accepted by the ministry and not diluted in any way,” said an MbPT official, requesting anonymity.

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