The city’s contentious draft development plan (DP) 2034 is mired in controversy yet again. A 6-metre wide under-construction walking and cycling track along the sides of the Irla nullah – a project spearheaded by the residents of Juhu – has been marked as a 6-metre wide road in the draft DP.
The civic body passed the project last year, and work for beautification and construction on both sides of the nullah is underway. The project, aimed at encouraging walking and cycling on the 2-km-long stretch, will be connected to interior roads such as Gulmohar Road, 5th Road Juhu, 10th Road Juhu, and the Military Club.
Residents of Juhu have slammed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for marking an under-construction walking and cycling track as a proposed road. They are objecting to the implementation of DP-2034, and have contended that the track was to be maintained as an open space, by them.
The project was conceived by residents of the area and Rajya Sabha MP Javed Akhtar five years ago, who had agreed to allocate Rs30crore from his MP fund for the project, of which about Rs10 crore was to be spent to clean the Irla nullah, which runs along the track. Residents say they have planted 2,000 saplings on the stretch. It took them five years to plan the track, obtain approval from different civic departments, and get the funds allocated. The residents also want to place benches along the track.
Bharat Shetty, a resident of Gulmohar Road, Juhu, said, “The proposed DP favours the developers, with irregular FSI being proposed. Also, there are irregularities in the mapping system. They have marked an under-construction walking and cycling track as a DP road. We will not allow the implementation of this DP, and will raise serious objections to this.”
Planner and architect PK Das, who has designed the project, said, “Residents have spent so much time to get permissions from BMC for this proposal. Now, the same civic body, after approving the project last year, marks it as a proposed DP road. This shows the incompetency of BMC officials. Satellite maps must have showed this to be an empty space.”
In spite of repeated attempts to reach him, Balachandran Iyer, chief engineer of the development plan department, was not available for comment on the matter.