ON THE CHIEF MINISTER INVOKING SECTION 154 TO REVIEW THE DRAFT DP IN 4 MONTHS
The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has ordered the MCGM to review errors in the Mumbai Development Plan (2014-2034) as per Section 154 of the MR&TP Act. We welcome the intervention by the CM. This intervention comes at a crucial stage when an increasing number of people were raising their concerns against the draft DP.
Under Section 154 of the MR&TP Act (copied below), the State Govt has ordered the MGCM to correct the errors and produce a revised development plan within the next four months.
Section 154 Control by State Government: (1) Every Regional Board, Planning Authority and Development Authority shall carry out such directions or instructions as may be issued from time to time by the State Government for the efficient administration of this Act.
(2) If in, or his connection with, the exercise of its powers and discharge of its functions by the Regional Board, Planning Authority or Development Authority, under this Act, any dispute arises between the Regional Board, Planning Authority, and the State Government, the decision of the State Government on such dispute shall be final.
This clearly indicates that this is a directive from the state government and the onus is now on the MCGM to correct and revise the DP. Four months have been given to incorporate people’s suggestions into the DP.
With regards to this order
i. The state government needs to clarify the scope of revision – The state government should clearly state from which stage will the DP will be revised. It is widely recognized that even the Existing Land Use (ELU) surveys were not accurate. We request immediate correction of the same, followed by the revision of the draft DP.
ii. People’s participation MUST be sought – The MCGM conducted a host of public consultations in the run up to creating the draft DP. Within these four months the MCGM must host consultations at the ward and planning sector level if it aims to address the very reasons for which this revision has even been ordered.
iii. The MCGM should reopen the period of suggestions and objections after the 4 month reworking period
iv. Objections and suggestions submitted so far should be considered and incorporated when the DP is being revised to avoid repeating the same mistake. And all the suggestions-objections need to be collated and made into a public document.
v. The state government should assist in the revision process – There are major possibilities in the Mumbai DP revision process where the state government can lend support to the MCGM in key areas. For instance, with regards to affordable housing the state ask for reservations for public housing to be executed under MHADA; in case of slums the state can give alternatives to the failed SRA schemes; the state should take a decisive step on including Special Planning Areas (SPAs) into the DP; the state should provide details of urban villages and their land revenue records for their mapping; the much opposed coastal road, which is a state government initiative needs to be reconsidered etc.
We are confident that the following steps will be taken by the MCGM during the next four months:
1. Reserving slum lands as “public housing”
2. The MCGM will set national level norms and benchmarks for health and educational infrastructure, generous provisions for open spaces, and seek to make these accessible to all..
3. Undertake Local Area Plans at this stage itself -alternatively provide guidelines and timeframes for them.
4. Integration of SPAs into the DP
5. Provide up gradation guidelines and DCRs for slum up gradation
6. Set realistic and assessable targets and enlist means for their achievement
7. Improve upon the important innovations in the ddraft DP such as inclusive zoning, participation, TOD and make them work better
8. Electoral wards must become planning sectors to facilitiate participatory planning.
9. Boundaries of urban villages must be mapped and special DCRs for improvement and upgrading should be formulated
10. DCRs for repair and reconstruction of existing social housing (MHADA, CESSED, BIT) as opposed to redevelopment; creating rental housing
11. Retention of “low development zones” around natural areas that allow primary activities
12. Develop a Street vendors plan and DCRs must be introduced with method for surveys and formulating planning norms described
13. There must also be a focus on needs of vulnerable groups – women, elderly, children, homeless
14. Informal livelihoods must be planned for – vendors, naka workers, informal manufacturing
As a campaign, we appreciate the willingness to undertake review and alter the most controversial portions of the DP, including its approach. We hope that these four months take into account the needs of the entire population of our city in the DP and address the housing and livelihood needs. We are confident that after the overwhelming response to the draft plan and constructive feedback from citizens, the MCGM will draft a progressive alternative, in search of an “inclusive, sustainable and competitive city”.