Mumbai DP 2034 still shows land parcels in sea and mangroves
Sanctioned and notified earlier this month, the city’s mammoth Development Plan (DP) 2034 is still riddled with errors. Such are the inaccuracies that DP sheets show parcels of land in the sea, shifting sands, intertidal areas, mangroves, and even nullahs.
While BMC is calling them “clerical errors”, activists allege it’s a ploy to gobble up ecosensitive zones for development. Alarmed urban planners have now officially raised a red flag over the erroneous DP and written to Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta to rectify these mistakes immediately as it could lead to discreet reclamation by developers and encroachers.
According to the letter written to Mehta by architects Akhtar Khan and David Cardoz, the errors, if overlooked, could have serious implications as many areas could later be disputed as developable land.
On its part, the BMC claimed that it has already written to the state government about the faults which have been classified as “draftsman’s errors”.
“There are no plots on the sea anymore. There were some clerical and textual errors in the DP sheets. In fact, it was the municipal commissioner who had first pointed them out and had written to the state to get them corrected. Almost all of them have been corrected and the remaining errors are in the Excluded Part (EP) of the DP which is yet to be sanctioned. They will all be rectified soon,” said a senior civic official.
According to the sanctioned DP, at least six plots around Haji Ali have been designated in the sea. Besides, two plots with a city survey number have been earmarked in the sea along Madh Island.
However, no description or explanation has been given for such demarcation.
This, the letter by Khan and Cardoz to Mehta says, could make the sea open to reclamation and development, seriously impacting the coastline and becoming a potential cause for flooding.
Similarly, over 70 plots have been shown on intertidal areas and shifting sands in Versova, Dahisar and Mahul, which could open up the mangroves to development. “There is no way to ensure that these lands which are important defence points from coastal flooding will be protected from construction if these errors continue to remain in the DP,” the letter says.
Some plots have also been marked on forest land next to Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali. In Malabar Hill, 10 plots have been shown in intertidal areas and the rocky outcrop along the coast. In Worli and Koliwada as well, some have been marked on intertidal areas.
The Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) had also highlighted recurring errors in DP maps, asking the BMC to remove them. “Is marking plots in sea a clerical error? The implications are huge. Such draftsman’s errors must be corrected immediately. Else, it will lead the way for developers to play mischief. They might not actually construct on these fictitious plots but they can use the FSI available,” said Pankaj Joshi, director, UDRI.
What’s worse, on all the maps for island city, western and eastern suburbs, sea colour and natural water course is shown in different colours, creating confusion.
According to the letter to Mehta, the DP sheets on the eastern suburbs do not show the sea at all, making these areas susceptible to speculation and illegal reclamation.
In areas like the Sewri mudflats, which are home to flamingos every winter, the CRZ buffer line is shown in the sea and at some locations two CRZ buffer lines have been shown. If not rectified, it might lead to construction on the mangroves. “If these errors are not removed, the city will be under constant threat from ad-hoc development in sensitive areas,’ the letter says.