Clearing east coast for development: MbPT to release its revised plan soon
The Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) will release a revised development plan for the city’s eastern waterfront soon.
Officials from the port trust confirmed the plan for 253 hectares of land between Wadala and Colaba is in final stages and will be submitted to the government of Maharashtra for an approval. MbPT published the plan of the eastern waterfront in December 2018. HT ran a series of articles highlighting how the draft majorly looked at commercial development of the land, instead of earlier reports that looked at opening it up for public use. MbPT received close to 950 objections. Following the flak, MbPT said all objections will be looked into for a period of four months.
Sanjay Bhatia, chairman, MbPT, said, “We have considered all objections and are making some revisions to the plan.”
Experts have pointed the eastern waterfront plan must look at providing more affordable housing, in-situ rehabilitation for informal sector and slums in the area and walkable open spaces. A majority of citizen groups have also opposed the idea of reclaiming 93 hectares at Haji Bunder to providing open space. A senior planner from MbPT, who did not wish to be named said, “The lacuna of the first draft was it lacked detailed layouts. We are looking at doing that in the revision, where citizens will know which areas are allocated for open spaces, housing and commercial use.”
Hussain Indorewala, assistant professor, Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies, said, “The master plan released in December 2018 focussed on privatising the land. The port land is public land that must be used for creating more social infrastructure, open spaces and public housing…MbPT must reconsider the plan on a conceptual level.”
Shirish Patel, an urban planner, said, “The overall plan was structured in a way which was not beneficial to commoners. MbPT must look at creating more amenities like open spaces and affordable housing.”
Another senior planner said of the 966 hectares, only 253 hectares will be opened up for development, of which 76% of the area will be reserved for open spaces and rest for housing and commercial development. The first draft had only 7.6% area reserved for open spaces, which several urban planners had criticised.
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