MUMBAI: Mumbai's controversial draft Development Plan (DP) 2034, sharply criticized by citizens, activists and political parties for its overall thrust and its numerous glaring errors, will be revised.
The BMC has been given four months to weed out the errors in the draft DP and publish a revised draft, CM Devendra Fadnavis said on Tuesday.
Released on February 24 this year, the draft DP has invited over 25,000 objections and suggestions so far. It has proposed high FSI without open spaces or amenities, deleted 70% of the city's heritage sites, marked residential plots and even parks as 'commercial residential' and shown roads cutting through housing societies, schools and other structures.
Four days before the April 25 deadline for sending objections and suggestions, the state government on Tuesday issued a directive to the civic body under Section 154 of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act to carry out the revision exercise.
"During the four months, the stringent of the two reservations (set out in DP 1991 and draft DP 2034) will apply," said the chief minister. This has come as bad news for developers, many of whom were hoping the draft DP would be scrapped as their projects at various stages of approval would need nods afresh if reservations in the draft DP were to stay.
Whether the BMC can complete the task in four months, though, is uncertain. "It is unlikely. They will first have to correct the existing land use plan as errors in it reflect in the draft DP. For that they will have to do a ground survey. The entire process will take at least six months," said architect and activist P K Das.
Nitin Kareer, principal secretary, urban development, said the draft DP cannot be scrapped as it would then become difficult to save several reservations. "The BMC will have to begin granting building permissions, and this would have created problems in saving reservations," he said.
"In many cases, the BMC has begun the process for issuing building permissions, but these have been stalled on account of the reservations. The revision does not help. The draft DP should have been scrapped," said Ajit Khatri, ex-president of the Practising Engineers, Architects and Town Planners Association.
The Hamara Shahar Vikas Niyojan Abhiyan, a collective of NGOs, said the government should clearly state from which stage the draft DP will be revised. "It is widely recognized that even the existing land use surveys are not accurate. We request immediate correction of the same followed by the revision of the draft DP," said the Abhiyan in a press release.
Kareer said that as per the directive issued, the BMC over the next four months will look at all errors, correct them and publish a revised draft DP. On the day the revised draft is published, the present draft will cease to exist.
"The directive clearly states that the day the revised draft is published, the gazette notification of February 24 announcing the publication of the draft DP will be cancelled automatically," he said.
Citizens can continue sending in their objections and suggestions till April 25. "When the revised draft DP is published, citizens will again be given the mandatory period (of 60 days) to submit their objections and suggestions," Kareer said.
On the issue of missing heritage structures from the draft DP, Kareer said the 1995 heritage list which is final will be published in its entirety in the revised draft. "The 2013 heritage list is in the process of objections and suggestions being heard by the heritage review committee. When it is finalized, it will be incorporated in the new DP and there will be no further objections/suggestions as the process would have been completed," he said.