PROPOSALS in the revised draft Development Plan 2014-2034 regarding open spaces in the city have been met with concern by environmentalists and planners. The draft chapter on reservations for amenities retained the prescribed per capita open space availability in Mumbai and the suburbs at 4 square metres, as prescribed in the previous DP of 1991-2011.
While a draft last year proposed to revise this prescribed per capita open space availability to 2 sq m in the island city and 4 sq m in the suburbs, it was abandoned in the fresh draft released on Monday. Citizens, however, pointed out that four sq metres per capita was lower than the national standards.
Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute Pankaj Joshi raised concerns about the lack of clarity on the plan’s implementation.
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“The Central prescription for open spaces is 10 sq m per capita and we are being promised one third of the national standards. Are we supposed to rejoice at these figures? These guidelines clearly lack intention,” said Joshi, who believes there is no lack of availability of land for allocation as open spaces in Mumbai.
The draft plan also makes a mention of permitting construction of the Metro Rail carshed in Aarey Colony despite stiff opposition from local residents. The plan has announced the carshed and a botanical garden and zoo.
“The matter is sub judice and increasing opposition to the carshed will definitely ensure it does not get implemented,” said Stalin D, Director of NGO Vanashakti.
Salt pan land parcels classified as No Development Zones (NDZ) are also set to be available for an integrated road network for “integrated development” according to the draft plan.
“There is clearly an unscientific method of planning that has been adopted, and lack of dialogue, which has caused this oxymoron for a guideline,” said Stalin.
“When this 4 sq m change was proposed for open spaces, the officials claimed that for every 1sq m per capita allocation, they would have to relocate a lot of people. There is a lot of jugglery of figures and no actual impact assessed.
Even the reservations that have been removed from eco-sensitive areas are stalling positive development,” said activist Priya Misra.