Seeking transparency in Development Plan, NGO files PIL

Citing lack of transparency and delay in the publication of theDevelopment Plan (DP), Parisar, a city-based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), has filed a PIL at the Bombay High Court stating that the revised DP is flawed.

According to Parisar’s founder-trustee Sujit Patwardhan, the revision of the DP is a crucial exercise with far reaching consequences for the well being of the citizens, as it conceptualises the vision for the city.

“We are not against the 300 supplementary suggestions made by members in the PMC house. Our contention is that as per the MRTP Act, section 21 mandates that the public should be informed and their inputs sought at every stage of the preparation of the plan, ” said Pathwardhan.

“Instead of making the draft plan public, it was handed over to the PMC’s City Improvement Committee (CIC). We wanted to review the original draft plan,” he added.

According to Parisar Project Director Ranjeet Gadgil, the PIL was filed on December 21 last year, and at the first hearing the presiding judge asked the state’s urban development secretary to give his say on the PIL and its relevant issues. “A clear picture will emerge at the next hearing,” said Patwardhan.

“The MRTP act indicates that there should be transparency in order to avoid the draft plan being hijacked by vested interests. In addition, as per the amendments of the MRTP Act on April 5, 2011, the DP should be prepared in two years with a maximum six-month extension, with the public given 30 days to submit their suggestions and objections.

Even the state government has to approve the DP within one year. Everything has been violated by the government and the urban development secretary by interpreting the MRTP act in their own way,” said Gadgil.

The other side
Avinash Patil, deputy director, Town Planning, Pune, said, “The MRTP act does not state whether the draft DP should or should not be made available to the public. In the present circumstances, under section 26 of the MRTP Act, PMC has to publish the DP along with the general body’s suggestions finalised in the draft DP. PMC and the state government will form a joint planning committee to conduct a hearing of the people coupled with public suggestions and objections, and then it will again seek approval in the civic body’s general body meeting. The town planning director will have the final say on the publication of the DP, under section 30 of MRTP Act.” 

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