Construction activity along Mumbai’s coastline is expected to pick up. Mumbai’s new Development Plan (DP) lifted the curbs on construction in areas within 500 metres of the coastline. With nearly 43.48 square kilometre, or roughly 9 per cent of the city’s total land area, in this zone, designated as the Coastal Regulation Zone-II (CRZ-II), the new plan has the potential to permanently alter the city’s skyline.
Mumbai’s new Development Plan-2034, which received Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s sanction earlier this week, mentioned that “it has not followed the stipulations of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991 for CRZ-II areas”.
It contended that the “stipulations impose restrictions which are not conducive to the integrated development of the region”.
While categorising regions already developed on the landward side of the region in this zone, the Union Environment Ministry imposed curbs on further development activity in the region in February, 1991. Although the curbs were eased for the redevelopment of unsafe cessed buildings and slums in 2011, these remain in force for other development activities.
Incidentally, the central ministry, last week, came out with a draft Coastal Regulation Zone notification, 2018, which has similarly proposed easing the curbs in the CRZ-II areas. Environmentalists and fishermen raised the alarm regarding the draft. The ministry, meanwhile, has sought public suggestions and objections to the draft.
The new development plan has also objected to the ministry’s stipulation that all the undeveloped open spaces in this zone be tagged as CRZ-III, which is essentially a “no-construction zone”. “This is anachronistic and not conducive to the integrated development of CRZ-II with adjoining areas,” stated the plan report.
While the new development plan is expected to kick off in a month after the CM-led Urban Development Department issues a notification regarding the sanction of the plan and the new Development Control Regulations, senior officials said the revised stipulations regarding CRZ-II would only kick off as and when the CRZ notification is modified.
“Till then, in any case, existing CRZ stipulations will override,” a senior official said. An earlier draft of the city’s development plan, which was discarded in 2015, had also advocated lifting of these restrictions.
Meanwhile, the new development plan did not map slums on the sheets. It said the state government had already tasked the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) with this role. Once the SRA finished the slum mapping exercise and the state government approved it, these would be considered during the implementation period of the new development plan.