The BMC is looking at reviewing the Development Plan (DP) implementation on an annual basis to avoid its flagrant abuse,which is blamed for some of the urban mess in Mumbai.
The civic body is currently in the process of drafting DP (2014-34). The DP is the public land use plan that the BMC is expected to implement over two decades by acquiring land from private owners and developing it for the intended purpose. It acts as a blueprint,which has reservations earmarking land for various public amenities such as open spaces,affordable housing,roads,public schools and hospitals,dumping grounds,markets and parking space. However,the enforcement of the plan comes up for review only after every 20 years,just before the BMC drafts the DP for the next two decades.
The absence of a periodic review has created a situation where over 20 years merely 10-12 per cent of the DP is actually implemented on ground. The civic body is now looking at a yearly stocktaking of the DP on the same lines as the Environment Status Report,which is a comprehensive annual update published by the BMC on every aspect of the citys environmental health.
The decision was based on a suggestion made by the research organisation,Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI),at an official meeting attended by representatives from Group SCE (the consultants appointed to revise the DP) as well as officials from the BMCs DP department. The BMC has committed to publishing an annual apprising of DP implementation. The disclosure,if published on a corporator ward level,will allow people to scrutinise and monitor the creation of public amenities in their localities. It will also help citizens look into the reasons for non-implementation as well as put pressure on the state government for taking corrective steps, said Pankaj Joshi,UDRI executive director.
The current rules require the BMC to review the DP only before preparing the new one,a process it is expected to complete in the next couple of months. However,approximate figures procured from the civic corporation show that as of today barely 600 of the 5,000-odd reserved plots have been taken over and developed. The abysmal record is owing to BMCs failure to acquire this land from private owners and at times deliberately allowing the reservation to lapse so that the private owner can sell the land or construct on it.
In many other cases,the state government has used its special powers to indiscriminately delete or change the reservations for various public amenities to pave the way for residential highrises. Civic records show that merely a fourth of the plots reserved for recreation grounds,playgrounds and parks have been acquired,while in case of public housing,schools and hospitals,the enforcement is almost negligible. Moreover,the state government has on an average changed or deleted the reservations for 10-15 plots each year.