Now BMC Chief to have power to override land use
By Accommodation Times Bureau
A provision proposed in the draft Development Control and Promotion Regulation (DCPR) has given discretionary (special) powers to the municipal commissioner (MC) to change the reservation and designation of a plot of land in the Development Plan (DP). This proposed draft DCPR regulation supersedes the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act, which will result in the curtailment of rights of citizens and elected representatives to raise questions on change in land use.
“In the MRTP Act, there is a due process involved for changing of reservation or designation of a plot of land. If the upcoming DP (2034) has errors made in reservation or designation of a plot then under Section (6) (C) of the DCPR, the MC will have overriding powers to change the reservation or designation of that plot of land,” said a member of the expert committee analyzing the planning committee’s proposed DCPR and draft DP.
For example, if there is an existing land which is a playground and is wrongly shown as an amenity plot (school building) in the development plan, then the MC can change its reservation from playground to a school building without calling for a hearing of citizens and elected representatives. Experts say that this proposed draft DCPR regulation is a subordinate legislation which is superseding the parent legislation of the MRTP Act.
“In the past, if one wanted to change land use, a due process would be followed as per Section (37) (1) of MRTP Act wherein the BMC had to issue a notice of 90 days to all the affected parties. A hearing would then take place for the change in reservation, which would be reported to the state government for a sanction. So, the onus of changing reservation or designation of a plot falls under the purview of MRTP Act and not the MC,” said the expert.
Citizen activists are also concerned about the inclusion of this provision in the draft DCPR and call it “undemocratic”.
“The Constitution doesn’t permit powers to be given to one person. The 74th amendment of the constitution states that the power should be decentralized and citizens should be involved in the planning of the city. Whenever there is a change in land use there should be public consultation,” said Ashok Ravat, president, G (North) Citizens’ Forum.
Citizens are hoping for corporators to oppose this discretionary power given to the MC when the proposed draft DCPR and the revised draft DP is discussed in the general body meeting for a final clearance.