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Space-starved city cannot meet open space standard

mumbai Updated: Jun 01, 2016 13:09 IST

MUMBAI : While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ( BMC) has set open space standard at 4 square metres per person in the draft development plan (DP), it has been revealed that the city is short of 1,591 hectares to meet that.

This means, only 2.76 sqm of open space will be available per person.

According to the DP, 3,525 hectares have been marked as public open spaces (existing and reservation on plots) across the city. But, to give 4 sqm per person for the next 20 years, the BMC needs 5,116 hectares.

Experts said that to achieve the proposed standards of public open spaces, the civic body has proposed an additional 4,308 hectares of open spaces which are actually buffers around nullahs, creeks, rivers, swimming pools, part of Aarey Colony and Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

The places are either have limited access or cannot be counted as open spaces.

After combining the two figures (3,525 hectares and 4,308 hectares) the civic body can provide 7,834 hectares public open space out of total area of 47,624 hectares. The space-starved city will hardly get any relief as this will remain only on paper.

HT had reported on May 29 about the draft DP’s provision of only 16% of available land marked as public open spaces against the total l and area available.

Moreover, the most plots reserved for open spaces are encroached.

According to the ward-wise table of proposed public open spaces in revised draft DP, there is a huge deficiency of public open space across the city except in Cola ba, Malabar Hill, Worli, Bhandup and Mulund areas. Areas such as Mohammad Ali Road, Chandanwadi, Dharavi, Marol and Ghatkopar have dismal record of open spaces.

A senior civic official from DP department said: “We have marked several areas as public open spaces. Though it is not available to many, but it is accessible to a section of society living in the area.”

Executive director of Urban Design Research Institute Pankaj Joshi said, “I don’t understand what civic body is trying to prove by marking private layout, SGNP and Aarey Colony as public open spaces if it has limited access. Citizens will get to access only the public open spaces that are reserved as open spaces.”

First Published: Jun 01, 2016 13:09 IST