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BMC’s new rule to cost the city a third of its open spaces

BMC’s new rule to cost the city a third of its open spaces
BMC's new rule to cost the city a third of its open spaces

Lack of open spaces in Mumbai

A new clause introduced by the BMC may rob the city of a third of its already sparse open spaces.

Mumbai’s growing population has ensured that the city’s infrastructure is always on the rise, horizontally as well as vertically. While the ever growing infrastructure has helped put a roof on the heads of a lakhs of city dwellers, it’s also made the city a tad bit cramped.

Fortunately, the city’s open spaces like playgrounds, gardens, parks etc offer some respite in the concrete jungle. But, the introduction of a new clause in the draft Development Control Regulations (DCR) 2034 of the BMC might change that and rob the city a third of its open spaces.

According to the new clause of DCR 2034, 30 percent of a plot reserved for recreational grounds and playgrounds (RG/PG) can be used by a builder for construction and the BMC will lay claim to the remaining 70 percent. The builder will be allowed to build on his allotted area with the FSI of the full plot — leading to vertical development. While the BMC will benefit by getting a free open space in return.

In the past, BMC has often found it difficult to acquire land for recreational purposes. And since it is mandatory to reserve a certain percent of the plot area for a playground or something similar, the owner would demand a high price and take BMC to court over it. The case would go on for years and cost BMC considerably. The new clause will help BMC in addressing this problem.

On the other hand, the clause has received a lot of flak from environmental activists who claim that the civic body is going back on it’s promise to develop and maintain open spaces in the city. Activist Shyama Kulkarni spoke to leading city daily and argued, “If they allow a builder to construct on 30% of the plot, what if he constructs a gymkhana on it? Then even the remaining open space will be used exclusively by members of that gymkhana. The whole point of it will be lost.

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