Although municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta had earlier opposed granting another extension to corporators to approve the draft development plan, 2034, the state government has given the general body time till July 18. The general body of elected representatives, however, is unlikely to begin discussions on the suggestions and objections submitted by corporators across party lines by the new deadline. Currently, the focus is on the annual BMC budget estimates that will be taken up for discussion in the coming meetings, till July 20.
In a letter addressed to the DP department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the Union Development Department has granted an extension till July 18, effective from May 19. The DP and the report on the suggestions and objections were submitted by the planning committee on March 6. Since then, despite two extensions for two months each time, the new general body that was elected in February, has not had any discussion on the DP in any of the hearings.
Several corporators, however, have submitted suggestions from their respective electoral wards. Till date, the mayor’s office has received 43 suggestions and objections from corporators from most parties. Pointing out the likelihood of the demand for another extension, a senior Shiv Sena corporator said: “Most suggestions have been put up by Sena corporators and it is their right to discuss ideas during the general body meeting and we will need at least several meetings so that everyone has a chance to speak. Even if we start the discussion from the next general body meeting scheduled on June 20, it will not be enough and we will have to ask for more time.”
Sources in the mayor’s office said that between June 20 and July 20, ten meetings would be scheduled where the budget will be discussed. Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeswar said: “We are yet to decide whether the suggestions that we have received will first be taken up for discussion in the group leaders’ meeting or not. However, if a corporator has submitted suggestions on the DP, he or she has the right to speak about it during the general body meeting.” He added that the budget will have to be approved in the general body, after which the DP will be taken up on the agenda.
Opposing the general body’s demand for another extension, civic chief Mehta on May 15 had written to the state government asking for the DP to be implemented as early as possible to facilitate development projects. Reiterating his stand, Mehta said that although the state government takes the final decision on whether to grant an extension, the general body has a limited period of time till May next year.
Another senior civic official said that there was no factual reason for demanding extensions. “Their reasons are not valid ones and they are delaying it unnecessarily. The delay in implementation of the new DP is causing an impact on the city’s infrastructure and development is unable to progress due to the ambiguity in the rules. We are currently using the more stringent of the two sets of development control regulations and it is causing too much unpredictability in the real estate market,” said the official.