April 22, 2015 2:35:51 am
Facing widespread criticism from activists and political parties, the Maharashtra government Tuesday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to scrap the controversial draft development plan (DP) 2034 for the city and prepare a new blueprint within the next four months.
The government decision was based on a report submitted by a three-member panel headed by chief secretary Swadhin Kshatriya, which pointed out several flaws in the draft DP. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Tuesday told the media after a cabinet meeting that in the wake of several complaints, the committee had put forth two alternatives.
One was to retain the existing DP while extending the time granted to the BMC to receive suggestions and objections from the public by another two months. The other option was to prepare a new DP after eliminating the errors of the current one. The government, he said, decided to go with the second option. “The BMC has four months to publish the draft DP after which they can call for suggestions and objections again,” Fadnavis said.
The panel’s final report pointed out several major discrepancies in the DP. It stated that parcels of lands covered by mangroves have been marked as zones that can be used for residential or commercial purposes. Such eco-sensitive lands are protected under the Coastal Regulations Zone 1 category and construction cannot be carried out on them.
The panel’s final report has pointed out another glaring error in the case of erstwhile mill plots handed over to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) for creation of housing for retrenched mill workers. Several such plots have been illegally marked with other reservations, it said.
Other flaws highlighted by the panel include errors in the existing land use maps, reservation for roads in wrong places, exclusion of several heritage structures and sites that are part of the 1995 notified heritage list and conversion of Non Development Zones into Residential Zones without incorporating ample space for creating public amenities. The panel also opined that there is a need for more discussion regarding BMC’s plans to convert much of the 1,000 acres Aarey colony green cover into a concrete growth hub.
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