First it said there were no errors in the existing land use (ELU) maps, then it acknowledged them and promised changes. Now, the civic body has said these discrepancies are “no big deal” as there are only “550 of them” (there are 957).
Citizen groups and organisations have been pointing out a series of mistakes in the maps, which the chief engineer (development plan) Rajiv Kuknur termed “human errors” on Wednesday. “Even if citizens have pointed out 550 errors, it is a very small percentage of the five lakh-odd mappings that have been listed by the BMC,” said Kuknur, speaking to the Hindustan Times.
The ELU has shown a large number of existing open spaces in the city as vacant plots, a mapping that many experts and activists said could be dangerous in planning the city later. Among other flaws, the ELU has also shown how many acres of wetlands as slums, when there isn’t a single structure in those areas.
Despite these, Kuknur remained non-committal about taking any action against the consultant, Groupe SCE India ltd, which has been given the task of revising the city’s development plan. “We are not initiating action against the consultants who prepared the ELU maps. We will wait for citizens’ feedback and then take a call.”
Citizens’ groups decried Kuknur’s comment as being “irresponsible”. “Citizens have been striving hard to spot errors and correct the ELU maps. It is a job that Kuknur’s DP department should have done. Such comments are completely unjustified,” said Ashoke Pandit, from the Oshiwara Lokhandwala Citizens Association, which has been involved in the scrutiny.
“In the case of sites such as Gateway of India that might be marked incorrectly on the list, it does not mean they don’t exist. They will be marked on the final development plan. After the deadline, we will verify the citizens’ suggestions and take a call,” Kuknur added.