The BMC has invited the ire of the Koli and East Indian communities yet again. After objecting to the ‘slum’ tag in 2013 while the Development Plan (DP) was being drafted, citizens claim that the draft released now still categorises all gaothans and koliwadas as slums.
In a letter to Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte, the Marol Citizens Forum has taken exception to the tag, saying it would be ‘complete injustice’ to term gaothans as slum clusters.
Gaothans are old-style living spaces, colonies of squat structures typically occupied by a single community, while koliwadas are similar colonies of fishermen.
According to the DP, there are 88 gaothans and 32 koliwadas across the city. Interestingly, the citizens had also objected in 2013 when the DP was still being drafted. The residents had also filed their objections during workshops held by BMC.
Godfrey Pimenta, a resident who also the objections said, “The DP has been prepared by officers who are not even aware of the ground reality. They cannot leave gaothans to be usurped by builders and tag us under slums sitting in their offices.
This is happening for the second time despite our objections.” After the DP was made public, several groups have complained that the suggestions made by them have fallen on deaf ears as none of them have been incorporated in the draft.
The draft of DP 2034 has been put up on BMC’s website, inviting suggestions and objections from citizens before April 25. During the thematic workshops held by the civic body during the draft process, gaothan residents had also asked for separate Development Control Regulations (DCR) which they claim have not met with.
The residents fear that will not be able to exploit the increased floor space index (FSI) prescribed for gaothans with blanket open space requirements set in the draft.
V K Phatak, the architect behind the new DP, said, “The satellite images may have classified the gaothans under slums. However, if there are inaccuracies, then they can be rectified. The civic body is inviting suggestions and objections with this purpose in mind.”