Two days after Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said the proposed development plan (DP) “should be thrown into the dustbin if it doesn’t benefit the common man”, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, in an interview to HT, said its political partner Shiv Sena has 100% say in the DP. Excerpts:
As the CM and the head of the urban development department, what do you have to say to people who are disappointed with the high FSI, low open space ratio and the plan for economic activity at the Aarey Colony in the DP?
People need not panic as there is a lot of scope for change. The draft has been put up before the civic body and is in the public domain for suggestions and objections. After this, a committee will look into the suggestions and incorporate the changes, if need be. When it finally comes to me, I will ensure it is a people-oriented development plan.
Thackeray is lambasting the DP saying it should be thrown into the dustbin? Will you rework it?
I want to refrain from making any political comment. The Sena has a say in how the DP should shape up, as it is in the BMC’s domain. The changes suggested by the public representatives in the BMC and citizens will be studied. A committee will incorporate the necessary changes and finalise the draft before it comes to me. Ultimately, the people of Mumbai will decide how it will look.
The proposed plan shows a huge vertical growth with an FSI of 8 in many areas. How will Mumbai be able to deal with it, considering the lack of supporting infrastructure such as roads, drains and transport?
Every DP needs to be seen in entirety. The basic idea is to use FSI as a tool for urbanisation. Earlier, we looked at FSI to curb urbanisation, which proved to be unsuccessful. The DP also looks at a transit-oriented development, where the travel time to access public transport will be minimal.
The other problem is the lack of open space. It only accounts for 2 sqm per capita, compared to an ideal range of 6 sqm per capita?
I agree the open space provided is not enough. We have tried to increase the current index, which is 1 sqm per capita to 2, but it is not much. Green spaces cannot be manufactured and have to be maintained. While deciding on the open spaces, the BMC will have to look at protecting the green spaces. An answer to this could be urban renewal, which is managing urbanisation using FSI. Using a town-planning approach can help us go more vertical and create more urban spaces. You will get more space for roads and gardens.
While you are propagating the need for open spaces, a green lung like Aarey Colony has been marked as an economic zone in the DP?
Green spaces, including Aarey, need to be protected. A huge space like Aarey Colony acts as a lung for a city like Mumbai. But we also need to remember that in the past few years, this space has been encroached upon at a rapid pace. This needs to change. Aarey cannot remain a green space on paper. Currently, heavy commercial activity takes place in the zone, and nothing has been done to curb it.
Where does your dream of providing affordable housing to all meet the DP which talks of high FSI? There is no mention of slums in the DP?
The answer to both the questions is in implementing the development control rules (DCR) effectively, and a proactive approach against slums. For affordable housing, we need to indulge in transit-oriented development, where there is a mix of residential and commercial area with public transport access. Several cities in the world have been transformed with this approach.