The Aarey Milk Colony may soon see large commercial and residential skyscrapers jutting out soon. While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed to open up Aarey, there is the fine print that it is not revealing.
The civic body has proposed two different link roads that will cut through Aarey Colony — one will be the Goregaon-Mulund Link Road (GMLR), as well as another link road it proposes to connect to the existing Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link road (JVLR). Even a part of the Metro 3 falls under Aarey Milk Colony.
If both these roads and the Metro route become a reality, a large part of Aarey will come under the transit-oriented development (TOD) zone.
With this, the green belt will then be eligible for higher Floor space Index (FSI), as much as 6.5 to 8. What this means is that construction of plots could be as much as 6.5 to 8 times the area of the plot.
The BMC has, in the proposed draft development plan (DP), offered high FSI along crucial transit zones. This could be rail lines, Metro or mono systems, as well as important road links, the report mentions. Under TOD, the civic body has proposed to distribute FSI into two different zones — intensive and standard zones — within 300m and 500m of the transit point. In the first, priority will be given to commercial development, while the latter can have more of residential areas.
The BMC’s report itself said it envisages Aarey Colony as “a future growth node with a potential to accommodate new commerce”. Talking about the Metro line, it said, “This has been utilised as an opportunity to develop a rail-based TOD node with mixed use zone around the rail terminus.”
BMC chief Sitaram Kunte, on Friday, said opening up Aarey was a necessity “The city has fixed land area, hence there is no scope for expansion. We have to utilise the existing available land, which is what is been done in the case of Aarey. The DP has been made in consultations with experts,” he said.
What may make things even easier for the civic body is the fact that though Aarey Milk Colony is one the few green covers left in the city, it is not categorised as forest land. Most of the land belongs to the state’s dairy development department.
Activists and environmentalists are concerned what the DP may finally mean for Aarey Colony.
“There seems to be a clear conspiracy to ensure that the Aarey green lungs are choked. The authorities have clearly not revealed all their cards. The worry is we don’t know what to expect next since a veil of secrecy surrounds all plans, ” said Biju Augustine, an activist who has been fighting for the cause of Aarey for several years.