The four-month review of Mumbai’s development plan (DP) may lead to substantial changes in the controversial blueprint. Sources close to the panel told Hindustan Times that the team appointed to overhaul the plan is now taking a hard look at some of the fundamental decisions that the earlier document had proposed, including increasing the Floor Space Index (FSI) up to 8 and opening up the green lung of Aarey Milk Colony.
While the list of proposals to be revised has not been finalised, sources said the panel will take a fresh look at these proposals and other issues such as the lack of affordable housing provisions in the plan and reducing the per capita standards of the city's open spaces, among others.
Sources in the BMC as well as the state government confirmed that Ramanath Jha, a retired Indian Administrative Officer (IAS) appointed to carry out this overhaul, has been given a free hand to transform the plan. Such a free hand, it seems from all indications, was given after the public outcry against the plan’s inadequacies and errors. A high-level, internal review of the plan, held after the transfer of former civic chief Sitaram Kunte, under whom the DP had been prepared, revealed the need for such an extensive overhaul.
An official close to these developments said, “We found the plan was completely detached from ground realities. It did not take into account the complexities of the city. How can you give an FSI of 8 to areas like Dadar and Andheri? FSI was just one problem. There are several elementary conceptual issues with the plan.”
At the moment, Jha, along with his team of civic officials, is reviewing the existing land use (ELU) maps, which are full of errors. Once this is done, the source said, the task of revising the concepts in the blueprint will be taken up.
The DP, made public on February 16, had drawn heavy flak for many of its provisions. The criticism had forced chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to intervene and order the BMC to redraw the map, after a review committee found it to be error-ridden and conceptually flawed.
Accordingly, the source said Jha has been asked to prepare a revised plan that takes a second look at these fundamental issues. “There will be a review of all the major proposals of the blueprint and we won’t hesitate to change or alter any of them — be it the proposal to grant higher FSI or even the proposed development control regulations (DCR),” said the source.
A senior state level official, not wishing to be named, said, “The instructions to the BMC from the state government’s side were pretty clear —they have full authority to carry out all the changes, even fundamental ones, to the DP as they deem right. The state felt such a revamp was necessary, considering the plan had many conceptual disagreements as well as outright errors.”