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Despite flak, BMC sticks to its contentious DP plan

The city’s 20-year blueprint for its growth was unveiled on Friday

mumbai Updated: May 28, 2016 00:00 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times
BMC,Development Plan,Mumbai

The city’s 20-year blueprint for its growth has been unveiled. Facing flak from sections of urban planners and activists, the general body of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), on Friday, gave its nod to make the city’s development plan (DP) public, signaling the beginning of a 60-day period for citizens to send in their inputs on it.

In its vision for the next two decades, the DP has proposed to focus on creating 10 lakh affordable homes, increasing the city’s green cover and adding adequate commercial space to boost the city’s economy.

To this end, the DP has promised one of the biggest land releases the city has ever seen, opening up over 3,734 hectares of erstwhile No Development Zones (NDZ) for development, including salt pan lands, which form nearly 8% of the total land in the city. However, even as it does this, the DP has proposed a sweeping increase of floor space index (FSI), allowing builders to construct more area, in almost every category. While it has retained the base FSI of 2, it leaves room for builders to avail of higher FSI by paying a premium.

In fact, the DP has also scrapped the proposed cap on FSIs in the last year’s plan, which got scrapped. This means builders will continue to avail of high FSI. Even while it has proposed to allow more land to be opened up for construction, the DP’s attempt to provide amenities is all set to court controversy. For instance, in Friday’s blueprint, the BMC has now proposed to count large spaces like BARC, the IIT campus and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences campuses as green spaces, in an effort to boost the city’s numbers. It has also proposed reclamation of land from the sea, in a bid to create more spaces.

As part of its proposals, the DP has now proposed two new link roads for better connectivity to Navi Mumbai, the Ghatkopar-Kopar Khairane link road and the Goregaon-Mulund-Airoli link road. Similarly, it has now also proposed an emphasis on making some roads only for pedestrians in each of the city’s 24 wards. Further, it has proposed to create 256km of dedicated bus lanes in the city in the next 20 years. It has also now proposed a new authority to regulate the city’s parking mechanism.

In the blueprint released, the BMC seems to have learnt its lessons from the flak it faced last year. For instance, it has decided to not widen existing roads and has dropped its plans of new links that went through properties.

“The city’s DP is marked by its effort to strike a balance between aspects of the city’s economy, environment and social justice. A standout feature of the DP has been its effort to provide a million affordable homes,” said BMC chief Ajoy Mehta. The civic body will now be making the plan public in the next few days.

First Published: May 27, 2016 23:56 IST