DP for 16% open spaces, experts call it inflated
MUMBAI: In a contentious provision, the city’s revised draft development plan (DP) 2034 has proposed 16% of the total land area available to be marked as open spaces. The city, according to the draft DP, is spread over 476.24 sq km (47,624 hectares), of which 78.34 sq km (7,834 hectares) has been proposed to be maintained as public open spaces. Activists, however, said the figure 16% is inflated and the actual open spaces available to citizens are just around 7%.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has recently reserved around 1,892.22 hectares of open spaces, which are proposed to be added to the existing 1,633.67 hectares. These are supposed to be easily accessible to citizens in the form of recreation grounds, playgrounds, parks and gardens.
However, it will be difficult for the civic body to acquire the proposed land for the purpose of creating open spaces as most of it is encroached.
Also, of the 7,834 hectares of open spaces proposed for the city, around 4,308.11 hectares will actually be only on paper. The reason being the draft DP seeks to add space under swimming pools, clubs and gymkhanas, buffers around nullahs (open drains), creeks, rivers and even areas around water pipelines as public open spaces — much to the dismay of experts and activists.
Further, parts of Aarey Milk Colony and Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) as well as layout recreation grounds in private properties (housing or commercial complexes), too, have been considered as public open spaces. BMC has also proposed to count large spaces such as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus at Powai and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) campuses as green spaces, in an effort to inflate the open spaces numbers. >> CONTINUED ON P9 >> RELATED REPORTS, P5