Soon, new construction rules for flood-free Mumbai

  • Shailesh Gaikwad, Hindustan Times, Nagpur
  • Updated: Dec 19, 2015 00:37 IST

Contour mapping will be made mandatory for builders who seek permission to build a structure in Mumbai, so precautions can be taken to prevent danger to the lives of people during flooding in low-lying areas, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said in the Assembly on Friday.

The government will also prepare a module for satellite-based monitoring to prevent encroachments in Mumbai and will also bring in a new policy on encroachments.

In reply to a debate on a private bill moved by Bandra legislator Ashish Shelar (BJP), Fadnavis said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will be directed to make changes to the development control regulations of the city to make it mandatory for developers to submit contour maps of the area.

Contour maps show the height of ground above the mean sea level and helps plan the dispersal of floodwater during the monsoon. It was one of the recommendations made by the Madhav Chitale Committee appointed by the state after the deluge in 2005. Considering Mumbai’s topography, the impact of tidal waves and the problems in dispersal of floodwater, if heavy rain coincides with high tide, contour mapping is necessary to plan construction in low-lying areas, the committee had recommended. It would also help the civic authorities to decide to whether to give permission to a particular structure or ask the developer to make changes to his plans. Shelar said the city needs to learn lessons from the 2005 floods and the recent Chennai incident.

Fadnavis acknowledged the need for such a measure and pointed out that a similar provision exists in the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, but is not followed. As such, the BMC would be given directives to make the required amendment to the DCR, he said.

Experts welcomed the move. “The current development plan makes contour mapping mandatory. If a builder is planning a structure on a hill slope or a low-lying area, the authorities can restrict the floor space index or ask him to amend the plan,” said Pankaj Joshi, urban planner. “It is important the planning authorities ensure the plan is cleared keeping the contours of the plot in mind. As the CM has announced this, one hopes the local authorities would take this seriously,” he said.

In response to another private bill moved by legislator Amit Satam, seeking strict action against encroachment on land earmarked for open spaces, public amenities and utilities, Fadnavis said the state is preparing a module for satellite-based monitoring of encroachments in the city. “If we get satellite maps every month, we can spot the encroachments and taken immediate action,” he said.

He said a report of a committee appointed by a high court to deal with encroachments is received by the government and is being looked into. A policy on encroachments with stern measures to prevent squatters would be brought out by the government soon, he said.

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