You will now have the chance to point out flaws in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s existing land use (ELU) maps.
HT has been reporting how the maps are flawed, with various think-tanks, non-government organisations (NGOs) and citizen bodies pointing out serious flaws in them.
Responding to the outrage created by these flawed maps, BMC chief Sitaram Kunte had assured HT in October that they would open up the maps to public scrutiny.
Now, two months later, Kunte has issued directions to ensure that the maps are up at every ward office by Thursday evening.
The ELU map is the base document on which the city’s development plan, its blueprint for development in the next 20 years, will be based. Any mistake in the ELU will mean that the next 20 years will see flawed planning mechanisms employed by agencies.
Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) had, in a detailed report, presented how there were several mistakes in the way the ELU mapped the city. For instance, the ELU had wrongly categorised all major educational institutions in the A ward as commercial institutions.
Another NGO, YUVA, had conducted a study in the P-north ward, comprising areas such as Goregaon and Malad, and found that there were 48 instances where the BMC had made gross errors in mapping land use.
In their study they found that the BMC had wrongly mapped pristine mudflats as slums and playgrounds in existence as vacant land, among other errors.
Now, with the BMC opening up the document for public scrutiny, you will be able to access it and ensure that there are no flaws in the way the BMC maps your locality.
Aftab Siddiqui, a citizen activist who has already begun verification of the ELU maps in her ward, said: “We have to ensure that the BMC makes no mistake in mapping and planning our locality. Hence, we plan to start dividing the ward areas among ourselves and start scrutinising the plan.”"This is a big victory for public advocacy and planning. The BMC chief’s move to open up the maps for public scrutiny has shown that the BMC acknowledges the role that people’s participation plays in inclusive planning," Pankaj Joshi, executive director of UDRI said.