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While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said that it received around 13,000 suggestions and objections from residents to the revised draft of its Development Plan (RDDP) 2034, the Urban Design Research Institute has claimed that the figure is over 84,000. Citing data from documents procured under the Right to Information Act, the UDRI has alleged that the DP department of the civic body downsized the number to minimise the objections received from citizens.
Urban planner and UDRI executive director Pankaj Joshi stated that the BMC received more suggestions and objections for the RDDP than the for the plan’s earlier draft, which was scrapped by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. “The civic body has clubbed multiple applications signed by different individuals as one suggestion or objection, which should not be done. By law, unique signature implies a separate response. However, to ease the media pressure, the BMC chose to artificially reduce the number of suggestions and objections,” he said.
Joshi further alleged that the civic body does not have any record of a decision made to club the entries. “It makes one wonder if this was done by the DP revision team itself, to escape the wrath of the civic commissioner and the DP department or to undermine the voices of people in Mumbai,” he said. Defending the BMC’s stand, an official from the Development Plan department said, “We have been open about the fact that the suggestions and objections have been clubbed to avoid repetition. All citizens have been given a fair platform to participate and offer their views.”
Joshi added that the BMC had received nearly 65,000 responses for the Earlier Draft Development Plan. While the civic body has claimed that it received only 13,049 responses for the RDDP, the RTI documents indicate that if each response were to be counted, Joshi said, the DP department had received 84,767 responses. As per his documents, the BMC has received 81,467 physical submissions and 3,300 online responses.