The BMC and the state government are confident that the newly-sanctioned Development Plan (DP) 2034 will resolve Mumbai’s housing problems and protect open spaces, but urban planners said the DP doesn’t offer anything novel for Mumbai’s unique challenges.
Urbanist Sulakshana Mahajan said: “I think it is time for me to leave Mumbai. With a DP like this, I see no future for Mumbai and its people. Nowhere in the world will such a plan be accepted. This is a repeat of the 1991 plan, with a little addition here and there and a hogwash of extra floor space index (FSI). This concept of extra FSI will not be supported by the market. Also, environmentally, it would damage the city. There are reports that have pointed out growing cases of tuberculosis in the city due to overcrowding. By giving extra FSI, they are crowding the land even more.”
Mahajan also pointed out that the DP has failed to offer solutions to the major problems that Mumbai faces. “This was prepared by planners without any understanding of the city. There is nothing about public transport, pollution levels etc,” she said. Mahajan said she was not against opening up No Development Zone (NDZ) lands for affordable housing, this should be the last option.
Former municipal commissioner D M Sukthankar said what matters more would be implementation of the new DP. He said: “Implementation of the DP is a matter of administrative and financial resources. Earlier, after the DP was approved, there was no monitoring done on the ground. A full-fledged monitoring body should be in place to ensure effective implementation.”
Sukthankar said he recently wrote to the chief minister about the relaxed Development Control Regulations (DCR) for slum rehabilitation rules. Also Read | Mumbai Development Plan-2034: Govt makes 2,300 changes in draft
“Under the slum rehabilitation rules, concession was given and the eight-metre distance between two buildings was reduced to three metres. That DCR was relaxed under pressure from builders. For example, during 1995, 2001 and 2012 seven to 20-storey buildings came up within just three metres of one another. This led to TB spreading rapidly in the locality. This was seen in M (East) ward. We have demanded that the old rule be implemented again,” he said.