Citizens slam land use survey at UDRI meet

Citizen associations claimed on Wednesday increasing descrepancies in an existing land use (ELU) survey being conducted by the civic administration. They claimed BMC was unwilling to involve residents.

After it was revealed that the ELU survey had over 1,200 discrepancies, citizens began scrutiny to ensure a better development plan (DP) for the next 20 years with a well-preserved green cover.

Nikhil Desai, activist and Matunga resident, said, "There are many areas in our ward that have been wrongly marked commercial or residential. BMC was supposed to display ELU maps in wards for citizens to verify. But no maps have been put up so far."

Desai was speaking at a meeting orgainsed by Urban Development Research Institute (UDRI) with citizen groups to discuss people participation.

Mahabir Urs of Mulund complained BMC had declared a large chunk of commercial land recreational ground. This could lead to further misuse in the new DP, he said.

"Most Mulund residents are not aware of the ELU survey and as such, many descrepancies will go unnoticed."

The ELU document prepared by BMC-appointed consultants will form the basis for DP. Pankaj Joshi of UDRI, which has been reporting flaws in the survey, said differences between ELU and the 1991 DP in force could result in a lopsided development plan for the future.

In addition, the civic administration has failed to mark land use in slum belts. This too will lead to serious flaws in creating the revised DP, said Joshi.

The city had huge slum belts and there were areas marked religious places, recreational grounds and playgrounds that were crucial to understand needs of the slum population, said a Mankhurd resident.

BMC had agreed to not only put up ELU plans in ward offices, which is critical for citizen partipation, but also present a detailed reconciled report on the descrepancies.

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