While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed to keep the buffer zones along rivers, creeks and nullahs to reduce the risk of flooding, activists and urban planners have pointed out that the proposal for flood control has not been included in the revised draft Development Plan (DP) 2014-2034.
The draft DP has proposed to demarcate buffers along rivers, creeks and nullahs, on either side of the water courses, which are to be maintained as development-free zones. This buffer zone will help reduce flooding risks by permitting waterbodies to flood their banks without affecting people, said civic planners.
However, officials from the DP department said the six-metre buffer zones on both sides of rivers, creeks and nullahs will be retained.
“It is on both sides. The intention behind it is the area will be encroachment-free. Also, keeping six metre for buffer zone will ensure that people will not throw anything into the nullahs,” said a civic official.
The official added that these buffer zones will be all across the city’s open spaces that can used for walks besides environmental maintenance.
Apart from the buffer zones, the revised DP has also proposed other measures such as creation of urban hydrology unit in BMC and preparing contour maps at smaller intervals.
City activists pointed out that according to section 22 (j) of Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act (MRTP) Act, the proposals for flood control and prevention of river pollution must be included in the DP.
“Keeping six metre buffer zone is like training the nullahs assuming that water will not flow beyond the six metre. It is ridiculous. In the existing land use maps, BMC has shown the flood-prone areas but it does not reflect in the revised DP. The BMC must elaborate the measures on each flood-prone area to control the floods,” said Pankaj Joshi, Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute.
Joshi said the analysis of the Chitale Committee Report showed that the list of flood-prone areas aligned with the areas with higher FSI. “That’s why it is necessary to have measures specific to the flood-prone areas,” he said.
However, the civic officials said contour survey has been carried out across the city. “So, it will show how much water will be logged in the respective areas considering the high tide also. We are also looking at the permeability as well to see how much water will flow and how much will be absorbed. At present, all the water flows away and does not get absorbed,” said a senior civic official.
The civic body has also made the provision in the draft development control regulations about putting the responsibility on architects to certify the plinth has been proposed after taking due cognisance of high flood level with reference to available contour map, the official said.