Will scrap DP if found irregular, assures Maharashtra CM

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the legislative assembly yesterday that a government-appointed panel would find out whether gross irregularities were committed while preparing the plan; DP may be prepared afresh, if needed

Following growing resentment against Mumbai’s draft development plan (DP), Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced that the plan would be scrapped and prepared afresh, if found irregular.

The draft DP has come under fire, among other reasons, for its philosophy that more FSI implying more high-rises would create affordable housing in the city. File pic for representation
The draft DP has come under fire, among other reasons, for its philosophy that more FSI implying more high-rises would create affordable housing in the city. File pic for representation

A panel headed by state’s chief secretary will study complaints that were received against the draft. The announcement came in the legislative assembly on Monday. “I, too, have received many complaints.

I think the state government must intervene in a limited manner in this case, and, hence, a government-appointed panel will find out whether gross irregularities were committed while preparing the plan,” Fadnavis told the Assembly, in reply to the views expressed by city MLAs, including city BJP president Ashish Shelar and others.

Swadheen Kshatriya, chief secretary, will be assisted by the principal secretary (urban development) and state director (town planning). Kshatriya will submit an interim report before the legislative session concludes on Friday.

According to the CM, the panel will also recommend extension, if any, for submitting suggestions and objections to the draft DP because the stipulated period of 60 days will soon be over.

However, Fadnavis refused to ask the state machinery to prepare the DP afresh. “The people of Mumbai and their representatives reserve the right to decide the city’s plan. The BMC alone will prepare the new draft, if need be,” he said.

The draft DP has been questioned over a proposal to grant more floor space index (FSI), opening up of no-development zones for construction and the philosophy that more FSI implying more high-rise buildings would create more affordable housing in the city. Releasing the city’s green spaces for development has also been heavily criticised.

No Metro fare hike before CAG audit
The contentious issue of a fare hike for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro now has a new twist. CM Devendra Fadnavis announced yesterday that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) would audit the financial accounts of Reliance Infra- promoted Mumbai MetroOne Pvt Ltd (MMOPL), before the company is allowed to hike fares.

Reliance Infra has claimed that they are incurring losses every day, because the daily ridership of 2.65 lakh is much less than the estimated 4.1 lakh. File pic
Reliance Infra has claimed that they are incurring losses every day, because the daily ridership of 2.65 lakh is much less than the estimated 4.1 lakh. File pic

A fare fixation committee (FFC) is expected to determine new fare for the 11.04-km line. However, Fadnavis said that the FFC would decide the fare based on the financial accounts submitted by the operator. “We need to verify the claims made by the company.

We need to know whether the reasons sought for fare hike are genuine,” he told the Assembly. The state government will ask CAG to conduct a special audit any time soon. Officials said commuters would benefit if FFC’s recommendations on fares were lower than that what MMOPL had proposed.

After launching the line in June 2014, Reliance Infra sought a hike and argued that it incurred losses of Rs 85 lakh per day because daily ridership (2.65 lakh) was much less than the estimated 4.1 lakh. Last year, the MMRDA dragged Reliance Infra to court demanding adherence to the concession agreement, which stipulated fares between Rs 9 and Rs 13.

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