Mumbai : After facing flak from all quarters, the state cabinet, on Tuesday, decided to scrap the controversial development plan for the city. The decision was immediately hailed by experts in the field, social activists and by political parties, including the MNS and the Shiv Sena, which had opened a front against the proposed plan.
The Mumbai DP 2015-34, among other things, had proposed a considerable hike in the floor space index to eight, leading to fears that it would eat into green patches, playgrounds and public space in the commercial capital.
The overall increase in bulk FSI was linked to proximity to mass transit modes but not indexed to provision of physical and social infrastructure. Activists had claimed it would increase congestion in already crowded areas like Andheri and Dadar. Some activists alleged it was intended to benefit the builders lobby. They also contended that reduction in open space requirement to 10 per cent from 15 per cent also went against earlier Supreme Court rulings on open spaces.
After the weekly Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the DP has been scrapped and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has been asked to submit a new reworked DP in four months’ time.
“There were flaws in it and hence the government has asked the BMC to rework it and rectify the problem areas,” Fadnavis told reporters here.
The scrapped DP had also opened up the thus far protected south Mumbai zone for utilisation of transfer of development rights as floating FSI. This would have meant more construction activity in the area.
A committee headed by chief secretary Swadhin Kashtriya — which also included principal secretary (urban development) Nitin Kareer — recommended that a new DP be prepared and suggestions and objections invited from the public.
The scrapped DP was released on February 16. Besides giving higher FSI of up to 8 in congested areas like Dadar, it had also proposed using the Aarey colony land — a green lung — for housing infrastructure and educational institutes in the city. The car shed of Mumbai Metro III was also planned here. The DP plan had numerous other errors — cemeteries, schools and iconic heritage buildings were either wrongly shown as reserved for recreational ground or play grounds or were entirely missing from the DP plan. In some cases, hawking zones were planned in residential areas.
Among political parties, the Congress, the Sena and the MNS had opposed the plan, especially over issues like land use. The chief minister, while announcing the cabinet decision, said there were two options before the committee — either to recommend a two months extension for suggestions and objections to the existing plan or ask the civic body for a fresh DP.
“The DP, in its present form, was not acceptable due to the mistakes that were seen in it,” he said.
The cabinet zeroed in on the second option as suggested by the panel and decided to scrap the draft DP and asked the civic body to draft a new one, Fadnavis said.
Meanwhile, welcoming the decision of the state cabinet, MLA and Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar asked the government to indentify the people responsible for the anomalies in the development plan. Residents, NGOs and town planners had alleged that the errors in the DP were a result of “lack of knowledge” on the part of the civic officials.
Cine stars like Aamir Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Javed Akhtar had criticised the DP and called for a dialogue between the government and people to plan a vision for the city’s development. Aamir was particularly critical of the metro car shed proposed in Aarey Colony.