Stop BMC from de-reserving plots: Here’s how

  • Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 02, 2015 00:28 IST

If you find the civic body’s proposed development plan (DP) has de-reserved a plot marked for a public amenity in your neighbourhood, a Supreme Court order can help you challenge it.

In December last year, the SC had ruled that reservations on plots in the DP, even if they are not acquired, must continue to exist in the revised plan. The ruling seeks to ensure the plot does not slip into the hands of private owners, by giving the civic body at least ten years to acquire the plot after the new DP is approved.

The order holds immense significance for the city, at a time when the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to scrap reservations in the DP on plots that have been not been acquired and have been occupied for other purposes.

HT had reported how this move means the city may lose out on nearly 700 hectares of open spaces alone, and hundreds of hectares of plots reserved for educational, medical and other amenities.

With 56 days to go for citizens to submit their suggestions and objections to the DP, the SC order will be a shot in the arm for residents who want to protest against the BMC’s move to de-reserve plots.

The SC passed the order in December last year in the case of Prafulla Dave Vs the Pune Municipal Corporation and others. The corporation had reserved the petitioner’s land in 1966 for a garden, but did not acquire it for 20 years.

The revised 1987 DP retained the reservation, after which the petitioner sent a notice to the corporation to acquire the land. When the civic body failed to respond, in 1989, the petitioner sent it a purchase notice, informing he was using the plot.

He also approached the HC, asking for the plot to be de-reserved. The HC rejected the order in 2003. Hearing an appeal against it, the SC reiterated the HC order and insisted purchase notices can only be sent by owners after at least ten years of the DP being approved.

Ashok Rawat, chairman of the G North ward federation, said he was aware of the order and planning to employ it.

“This order can be used to protest every proposed de-reservation of amenity plots in the city. Such de-reservations are fundamentally flawed. Instead, the BMC must look at ways to develop the amenity by resettling the occupiers of the land,” he said.

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