The decision on what public amenities and facilities your ward gets may be left completely on politicians and bureaucrats, according to BMC’s proposed development plan 2034.
The development plan, which is the city’s blueprint for the next 20 years, has not reserved amenity plots that are usually acquired from developers who take up housing societies for redevelopment.
Activists and urban planners are worried that the move will result in haphazard allotment of amenity services in a ward.
Public amenities are facilities such as hospitals, schools, public parking lots, open spaces, markets, police chowkies, among other things.
At present, if a society goes for redevelopment, the builder needs to give a portion of the land to the municipal corporation by building a public amenity reserved in the previous development plan.
However, as the proposed DP has no such reservation, the developer will no longer be held responsible.
Defending the move, a senior civic official said the idea is to create a pool of land. “We will acquire the land from the developer, but its use will be decided later considering the priorities and needs of a community at a later stage,” the official said.
“In the past, land acquisition of reserved lands was not possible, and even if acquired, they were not put to use. There were many complexities in the system,” the official added.
Activists, however, feel this will lead to politicians staking claim on plots without enough understanding of what is needed in a ward.
“It is a dangerous concept that will lead to misuse and chaos. There is also a possibility of encroachment, as there is no reservation on the plot,” said Nayana Kathpalia, trustee of NAGAR, an NGO.
“Incompetence of the administration can’t be a reason for making such changes. There should be instead strengthening of the existing norms,” she added.
Urban planners also questioned how the decision on which amenity is needed will be taken. “There is no clarity who and how the decisions will be made. Also, who will give inputs on the demography and requirements in an area,” asked Pankaj Joshi, director, Urban Design Research Institute.
Vidyadhar Phatak, advisor to the civic body on the DP, said, “It is not clearly mentioned in the DP, but there can be a participatory process with the local community. A decision on how to make it possible will be chalked out later by the municipal commissioner.”
Civic chief Sitaram Kunte was not available for comment.