The state government’s decision on Wednesday to set a four-and-a-half-year deadline for the preparation of the city’s Development Plan will help bring about better use of land.
The Development Plan is a blueprint of how the city will be developed in the near future. It is on the basis of this plan that land is distributed between residential, commercial and industrial zones and reserved for utilities, open spaces and infrastructure.
It generally takes 10 years for the plan to be drawn up — the last one took 14 years — during which the city’s growth pattern and its needs change.
A plan that’s drawn up faster would ensure land is used more in sync with the city’s demographics and needs. The state Cabinet decided to amend the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act to reduce the time taken to draft the plan. The Cabinet also decided that all planning authorities should start work on the plan three years before the existing one expires.
Each plan is valid for 20 years.
The current Development Plan expires in 2014. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will now have to prepare the plan and get it approved within the time frame.
Urban planner VK Phatak said the decision would help city planners do a better job. “The city is going by the plan that took nearly 14 years to get approved. With this decision, I hope the BMC starts working on the next plan right away. It is yet to even appoint a consultant to initiate preparation of the new plan,” said Phatak.
In the past few years, cities in Maharashtra have been growing quickly; 42 per cent of the population now lives in urban areas. With the boom in real estate and more money coming into cities, the government and the civic bodies are finding it difficult to keep up with growing urban needs in terms of infrastructure and amenities.
With a tighter deadline, the new Development Plan would be ready for implementation in lesser time.