BMC leaves out slums  from development plan

Even mangroves and ‘A’ ward’s floating population have not been accounted for in the new plan

Mumbai : Slums, mangroves and the ward’s floating population were not accounted for in BMC’s inaugural workshop on Monday, according to civic activists. The plan, which intended to discuss land utilisation for the A ward during the period 2014-2034 was presented by the development plan department of the BMC. It has now invited suggestions for the same.

Listing out infrastructure, traffic, parking spaces, open spaces, coastal development as the major challenges, the BMC envisages to tackle them through planned development. It mentioned places like Bora Bazar where transport is an increasingly tedious task, and hence plans to develop a network of bylanes here. Also, it plans to connect the ward to the origin of the proposed Metro station by adopting a transit-oriented development policy. This will make sure that new infrastructure is available for commuting to and fro the Metro station. It also plans to create separate parking facilities for commercial establishments in order to ease the load on roads. The BMC has now invited suggestions from the people on its email ID

Calling this a welcome change, Omkar Gupta of the Urban Design and Research Institute said, “The presentation was good but lacked any mention of the slums in South Mumbai. The officials kept reiterating that slum redevelopment is not their jurisdiction, I believe that they could have atleast showed the existing use of the land. After all, BMC is giving them facilities including water and electricity, so why can’t they at least incorporate them for the land they are using. I believe the BMC has rights to plan slum redevelopment even if it comes under the special protection area (SPA).”

Agreeing to this, Nayana Kathpalia, trustee, NAGAR says, “Apart from the slums, even the floating population of the city has not been accounted for in the plan. I think the number of people who come to South Mumbai for work is tremendous and exert a considerable load on the infrastructure. Also, there are tourists or people who come here for treatment in one of the hospitals. We need to take them into consideration since their numbers are only going to increase in the next 20 years.”

Although Meher Rafat, a citizen of the A ward pointed out the lack of documenting mangroves in the developement plan, the BMC officials were quick to say that mangroves is the state government’s prerogative.

Mr Bhatia of the Marine Drive Residents’ Association raised the issue of influx and outflow of traffic around Churchgate station and suggested the BMC not to include gymkhanas under open spaces.

Voicing the problems faced by slum inhabitants, Trupti Brid of an NGO called Doorstep Schools asked the BMC to look into the health issues of the region.

Also present for the meeting was Meera Sanyal of the Aam Aadmi Party. She pointed out that pedestrians and cyclists have not been considered in the plan and demanded a detailed plan for ingression and aggression of traffic once the Metro is in place.

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