The number of blunders in Mumbai’s 20-year development blueprint continues to rise, putting many of its essential, and scarce, amenities at risk.
A new study of the civic body’s designation survey — an exercise to mark existing amenities in the development plan (DP) — shows more than 600 private and public amenities have not been marked correctly. This isn’t all. Close to 700 private amenities have not been marked at all and 330 public open spaces are endangered by the survey, as it marks them as ‘recreational grounds’, a category of open spaces where construction is currently permitted.
This data is from a study submitted to BMC by Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), an NGO working on urban planning.
Following a report by HT, the civic body had said it will amend rules to ensure no construction is done on open spaces, but the other omissions that the study has highlighted will prove detrimental to the city, exposing its scarce amenities to new risks, urban planners said.
First, if a plot of land is marked incorrectly, its use will not be considered for the next 20 years, allowing land sharks to use it for commercial purposes. Second, leaving the amenities out will present a skewed picture of what the city has. Urban planners pointed out the flaws will also lead to plots being taken over for commercially-attractive uses, leading to haphazard development.
Their concerns are not unfounded, as among the errors are essential amenities such as public halls, schools, hospitals and green spaces being marked wrongly. This list includes popular landmarks like Prithvi Theatre, Rizvi College of Arts and the Sion Fort.
BMC chief Ajoy Mehta said the civic body will clarify these errors.
“These are observations. We will give out a comprehensive clarification covering the complete spectrum to clear all doubts. We will also give out ground rules for making a DP, to give the contextual perspective,” he said.
The 700 private amenities that have not been marked include SIES College, the PD Hinduja Hospital and Research Centre and the Bombay Stock Exchange, among others.
On not marking these private amenities, Mehta had earlier told HT the civic body decided not to mark them in the DP as they were private plots that the civic body cannot control.
In the long run, if these errors are not corrected, it will lead to poor planning after the DP is finalised. Urban planners and activists said accurate data is the cornerstone of sound city planning.
UDRI executive director Pankaj Joshi refused to comment on the report, saying it had been submitted to the civic body. Senior civic officials, however, said they will look into the errors pointed out in the report before commenting on them.