August 1, 2017 3:21:51 am
After a series of extensions from the state government, the general body of the Brihanamumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) finally passed the city’s long delayed Development Plan 2014-34 on Monday after deliberations that lasted around 12 hours. Corporators across parties suggested a total of 269 amendments, and voting on them continued well past midnight. Voting by show of hand on the Metro carshed issued in Aarey colony was still on till last reports came in. The ruling Shiv Sena is not in favour of the state government’s decision to build the carshed on Aarey land.
The decision to give the green signal to the rest of the blueprint that will govern the city’s development over the next two decades was taken by elected representatives of the municipality.
More than 60 corporators spoke on the motion, airing their views on the revised DP and also submitting their suggestions and objections.
The draft plan will now be sent to the state government’s urban development department, which will have another six months to review it before giving the final nod.
Despite having sought extensions since March 2017, the general body began discussions on the DP only last week. The discussion followed another extension after the draft plan was supposed to be cleared by July 18. This was the third extension sought by the newly elected general body. The final deadline for BMC to pass the plan was August 2.
“The state government will take a minimum of six months to scrutinise the 600-page document along with nearly 2,500 recommendations of the planning committee that conducted citizen hearings and the corporation’s amendments,” said a senior BMC official.
The official added, “The DP 2014-34 could be sent to the state government by August 2, 2017, and in this regard the civic body had already received a circular from the state government.”
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) group leader Manoj Kotak confirmed that his party had suggested 104 amendments. He said, “We have demanded that most of the reservations as per DP 1991 be continued and the reservation of a Metro carshed in Aarey should not be changed.”
The ruling Shiv Sena has expressed its objection to the state government’s Metro carshed plans.
Samajwadi Party leader Raees Shaikh said the party had suggested 13 amendments and Congress leaders confirmed there were about 30-40 amendments put in by them. Around 10 amendments have been suggested by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
The DP is a crucial document determining the city’s land use and infrastructure development for the next 20 years. While the first version was released in February 2015, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had ordered a revision post a public outcry over the DP being “builder-friendly”. The revised DP was then released in four different phases in 2016 with the BMC accepting public observations at every stage.
The plan proposes to increase affordable housing in the city by opening up salt-pan lands and no-development zones (NDZs) which account for 2,000 hectares of land. With the accommodation of reservation policy, the new plan has sweetened the deal for land owners, who will be compensated with additional construction rights than currently permissible if they develop the land and hand it over for public use.
The plan has paved the way for viewing galleries and helipads on the rooftop of tall buildings and common terraces that can be utilised as recreational spaces. After constant demands, the plan has also incorporated gender- and disabled-friendly aspects to be incorporated. This is the first DP that has been integrated with the BMC’s budget with an allocation of Rs 2,000 crore in the 2017-18 financial year.
The general body meeting witnessed a flurry of last-minute suggestions from the councillors cutting across party lines. While some said the revised DP was flawed, many claimed certain clauses needed changes.
From marking all the religious structures in the city, having a BMC-run indoor amusement park, dedicated toilets for children and babycare rooms along with ladies’ toilets across the city, reserving land for tribal communities living in Mumbai affected by development projects, evacuating tabelas from the city limits to even reserving a piece of land as a token of appreciation to councillors for their service in their respective wards, the general body meeting on Monday was flooded with suggestions from corporators.
Corporator Rajul Patel from Versova suggested that plots must be reserved in each ward to treat and segregate waste to save time and money in transporting waste all the way to Deonar and Kajurmarg dumping ground. Patel also suggested that many old buildings across the city without occupancy certificate be regularised by levying a one-time premium.
The city is home to 35 major koliwadas and 125 gaothans. In its draft DP, the BMC is planning to raise the Floor Space Index (FSI) in these areas to a maximum of 1.5, from the current 0.75. The plan is to increase the FSI by 0.5 for plots adjoining a road more than 9 metres wide. Corporator Tulip Miranda from Kalina slammed the draft plan for “downplaying the number of gaothans and koliwadas in the city”. She also said FSI of 1.5 was too less for the gaothans. Miranda also suggested that all religious structures be marked under the DP.
Corporator from Aarey colony Priti Satam said the current draft plan did not mention anything on reserving land for original inhabitants of the colony belonging to various tribal communities.
Corporators even slammed the draft plan for not having anything for eastern suburban region. They also stressed on the need for more parking areas and proper utlisation of open spaces.
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