No-development zone lands likely to go the mill way
The no-development zone land, where growth is severely restricted, would be exploited in the near future using the same mill land formula — dividing it into three partsmumbai Updated: Apr 20, 2016 01:14 IST
Nearly a decade after the mill lands were opened up for development and led to mushrooming of luxury high-rises at the cost of affordable housing and open spaces, the state is now readying itself for the next big development boom.
The no-development zone land, where growth is severely restricted, would be exploited in the near future using the same mill land formula — dividing it into three parts. One of the portions will be given to owners to exploit the land for residential or commercial development, one portion will be reserved for public housing by Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority and the third will go to the civic body for creating amenities and open spaces.
“This is the suggestion from the BMC and is expected to be reflected in the development plan. The overall thinking in the government is that the development potential of this land should be opened up for the city, specifically affordable housing. So, the original mill land formula works for this,” said a senior official. He admitted there is no clarity on how much of the existing NDZ land could get opened up.
Experts say that nearly 16 per cent of the city is made up of NDZ land, which largely includes ecologically sensitive areas and environment buffers like mangroves, salt pans, inter-tidal areas. Roughly, this works out to nearly 12 Port Trust lands that the city has been eyeing from the Union shipping ministry for affordable housing for over a decade.
Vast swathes of this land is in the western suburbs, including Malad, Dindoshi, Charkop, Malvani besides at Nahur, Vikroli, Bhandup in the eastern suburbs. And, these lands are already in the control of big developers.
“How do you carve out ecologically sensitive areas and distribute it three ways? This kind of development has its consequences and the city will have to pay a price for such development. It seems almost as if bureaucrats have never heard of climate change when one hears of such ideas. Did the mill land development go the right way? The city ended up with 3 per cent of that land,” said urban planner and expert Pankaj Joshi.
The civic body, however, has already paved way for this in its recently released chapters of Development Control Regulations and had retained NDZ reservation on certain lands but these were defined as “zone comprising potentially developable land kept in reserve for future”.
Last year, the draft development plan that is now under review had opened up 6,784 hectares of land, the size of nearly 27 mill lands for development from the NDZ.
The state government has already appointed a committee to look into the redevelopment masterplan for the salt pan lands in the state — this includes 2,144-odd hectares in Mumbai that currently fall in NDZ.