Poorest wards in Mumbai robbed of public amenities in proposed DP

  • Kunal Purohit, Mumbai
  • Updated: Dec 09, 2015 01:13 IST

The error-ridden designation survey of the Mumbai’s draft development plan may end up robbing some of the most underdeveloped areas of the city of critical public amenities. A new survey has found out how the flawed plan has a large number of discrepancies in wards with the lowest Human Development Indices (HDI) in the city — M East (with areas like Govandi and Mankhurd) and P North (with areas like Malvani).

Both these wards are among the worst-off in terms of their HDI, the Mumbai Human Development Report, 2009, had found. While M-East had the lowest HDI of all the 24 wards in the city, P-North’s was the sixth-lowest. Both have a very large slum population, which makes accurate marking of amenities critical.

The discrepancies found by the Hamara Shehar Vikas Niyojan (HSVN), an umbrella body of stakeholder groups, are varied in nature: crucial health and educational facilities have been left out, many have been marked wrongly and many others have been marked in categories that don’t even exist in the DP. A rough estimate puts these discrepancies to be around 200 in number.

For areas with such low HDI, the survey marks the ownership of many amenities wrongly. Such errors may lead to an inaccurate picture being presented of the accessibility of these amenities to the common man.

For instance, it has marked many privately owned amenities, including international schools, to be municipal-owned and controlled.

Prime examples of these are Ryan International School, marked as a civic school and a private hospital called ‘Prime’ has been shown as a municipal dispensary.

“A city that is already short of amenities is missing out on existing ones by not acknowledging a large number of existing amenities. They should have thought of how to use these public amenities and make it more accessible,” said Aravind Unni, architect and member, HSVN, which comprises of various citizen bodies that have been active on the issue of having an inclusive DP.

To add to the existing deficiencies, the survey has gone to mark many facilities erroneously. What this will do is present a picture of the two areas having those amenities, even though they don’t. Critically, the survey has marked a large number of plots for rehabilitation of people, even when they are not. For instance, the survey found that in Malvani, Elia Sarwat high school and a junior college were marked as being used for ‘Rehabilitation and Resettlement’. This is also the case with Holy Angel High School.

“In wards like these, if you aren’t even showing existing schools and hospitals, the deficiencies will reach frightening levels. Will they be able to bridge these deficiencies in the DP then?” said Unni.

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