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Mumbai DP: Tall promises but short on amenities

Recently released plan details show how it has, once again, undercut several crucial public facilities for the city

mumbai Updated: May 01, 2016 00:42 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times
DDA,BMC,Ajoy Mehta
The deficit, between national standards and what the DP prescribes for Mumbai, is glaringly wide.(Hindustan Times)

Mumbai: The development plan (DP) might give the city more high-rises but may not be as effective in providing much-needed public amenities.

The recently released details of the plan show how it has, once again, undercut several crucial public amenities of the city.

It has done this by setting the benchmarks for its delivery of these standards at very low levels, much lower than even national standards, leave alone international ones.

The deficit, between national standards and what the DP prescribes for Mumbai, is glaringly wide. For instance, while the Centre’s Urban and Regional Development Plans Formulation and Implementation (UDPFI) guidelines have mandated that cities must reserve 10 to 12 square metres per person for open spaces, the BMC’s DP reserves a fraction of it, at 4 square metres per person. Even the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), in its guidelines, mandates at least 4.25-4.75 square metres per person.

Such low standards for amenities will mean a poor quality of life for the citizens. Here is how.

The standards set for various amenities, such as open spaces, health amenities, educational facilities, serve as the benchmark which the BMC’s DP tries to achieve over the two decades that the DP is valid for.

Lower standards set by the DP would mean that the BMC would achieve even lower amenity levels.

Similar is the case with medical facilities in the city, often found to be woefully inadequate. So far, the city has managed to achieve only 0.26 square metres of medical amenities per capita, with the draft DP proposing only a marginal increase at 0.38 per capita square metres. Incidentally, the proposed DP has set standards which are even lower than what the 1991 DP aimed at, which was 0.4 square metres per person.

Read more:More haphazard development likely in Mumbai

The larger impact of such poor amenity standards are plenty. Paucity of amenities allows private players to step in and fulfill gaps, but these services, often, are not affordable by all.

Senior civic officials blamed the paucity of land for lowering the standards of amenities in the proposed DP. “We don’t have the land for basic necessities like homes. We are severely land-crunched and have a shortage of a million homes. At such a juncture, we can’t prioritise open spaces over homes,” said the official.

BMC chief Ajoy Mehta said the city would achieve better amenities through the DP. “Through various acquisitions and other methods, we will get more amenity spaces. We have also proposed higher FSI for hospitals and schools and hence, in terms of built-up area, we will definitely get better amenity spaces,” he said.

First Published: Apr 30, 2016 22:35 IST