The Revised Draft Development Plan (RDDP) for Mumbai, which envisions the future of Mumbai till 2034 is of special importance, since it is the first time public participation had been officially sought and encouraged in developing the planning itself. However, despite several opportunities, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) continues repeating grave mistakes in the RDDP and citizens need to raise their voice, since this Plan has implication for the next 20 years, says Advocate Godfrey Pimenta.
He was speaking at an interactive and fully packed seminar at Moneylife Foundation on “The Mumbai Development Plan DCR 2034: It has implications for our development and open spaces for the next 20 years. Find out how it affects you”.
He pointed out that the many errors, which were present in the earlier draft DP released in February 2015 and were pointed out by citizens, are there even in the latest plan. He gave a reference of about 27 churches that have been shown as educational institutes instead of religious places. More shockingly, the RDDP has declared three churches and the entire slum area between Saki Naka till Ghatkopar hills as garden, Adv Pimenta pointed out. “In addition, there is no marking of religious buildings.” One of the attendees present pointed out that the state secretariat has been marked as commercial zone and roads are shows going over and below the hills.
Ad. Pimenta alleged that the Coastal Road plan is merely a ploy for builders to usurp present No Development Zone (NDZ) lands. He gave example of area from Madh to Marve. He said that the Coastal Road will disturb a number of Gaothans and Koliwadas which have been dwellings of original inhabitants of Mumbai (many of whom are known as East Indians) as feeder roads will pass through these. He said that we need to preserve these Gaothans and Koliwadas as Heritage Precincts. Also about 300 acres land would be reclaimed at Colaba for Central Park, he said which would lead to impact on environmental and fishermen nearby.
He also said, “…the state government proposes to construct 10 lakh affordable houses for the poor in cities like Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur, Pune and other municipal areas. However, the MCGM by misinterpreting the state policy is exploiting the plan. What is stated in the RDDP 2034 by the MCGM for affordable housing is a mere facade to grab about 3,000 hectares of land from the no development zone salt pan lands for real estate development.”
The Mumbai development plan was first been drawn up in 1964 and have been revised twice since then. It was last revised in 1991. However, over the past more than 50 years, only 10%-12% of each of these plans were implemented. Changes are made in the DP to convert the original reservations without public consultations. As a result, the city has been growing rapidly but without a proper development plan in place. This has resulted in a growth in a totally unplanned manner thus stressing the infrastructure. It is highly necessary for the citizens to get actively involved in the DP process to ensure that their quality of life does not get further deteriorated.