Mumbai: More open spaces promised, misuse to be curbed

In the report submitted by the committee, however, the average norm can be increased to 3.77 square metre per person.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published:March 7, 2017 3:45 am

SPELLING relief for a city starved of open spaces, the planning committee’s report on the Draft Development Plan 2014-2034 has recommended key changes that could add 330 hectares of open spaces. The state-appointed members, accompanied by the elected representatives including leader of the BMC house Trushna Vishwasrao and Standing Committee chairperson Yashodhar Phanse, submitted the report on Monday to Mayor Snehal Ambekar. The report runs into approximately 4,000 pages. In the revised draft of the development plan (RDDP), the average norm of open spaces for the city was 3.51 square metre per person. In the report submitted by the committee, however, the average norm can be increased to 3.77 square metre per person.

“Based on the hearings, we have made certain suggestions which can increase the area of open spaces from 4,489 hectares proposed in the RDDP to 4820 hectares. Among measures, we have suggested that the layout of private properties which will remain in the ownership of the layout but will be open to people should be shown to avoid misuse of open spaces,” said Gautam Chatterjee, former additional chief secretary and member of the committee.

Referring to the affordable housing scheme, which has now been renamed social housing in the report, Chatterjee stated that certain changes have been suggested in the no-development zones to ensure better use of the land.

“Of the 13000 hectares of NDZ land, 11500 hectares have been demarcated as natural areas. The remaining land has been divided into Special Development Zone I which comprises 250 hectares of land which is inhabited by slums, and the rest 1700 hectares labelled as Special Development Zone II, set aside for affordable housing,” he said.

Officials of the DP department stated that the regulations in the draft DP plan only applied to unencumbered land and rehabilitation of slums was not possible.

“We needed to divide it into two zones for better utilisation of the land as per the need since we received lots of complaints which pointed out that based on the old regulations, any slum rehabilitation developer wouldn’t take up a project on land meant for affordable housing. Now, with the division, more open space can also be generated for the people,” said the official adding that all development on NDZ land will happen on non-eco-sensitive areas and the regulations will be added under the development control and promotion regulations (DCPR) instead of just DCR.

Owing to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change suggestions and objection raised by a large number of activists, the reservation on 800 hectares of land in Aarey Colony has been changed from NDZ land to Green Zone. “The MoEFCC had suggested that Aarey zone be labelled as protected green zone and any development will be subject to their guidelines,” said the official.

Out of 12,915 suggestions and objections received by the civic body, around 7880 people appeared for 4184 cases which were heard by the committee. The committee members stated that 2245 suggestions have been made in the report which will now be tabled in the new general body for the final approval after which it will be sent to the state government.

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