Mumbai: BMCs proposed change in Development Plan 2034 to bury garden plot in Goregaon
Civic body quietly proposes shifting garden reservation from privately owned land to another plot already taken over by slum dwellers
Even as Mumbaikars starve for open spaces, thanks to the BMC, the city will now have one less garden in the future. The civic body has quietly proposed changes to the Development Plan 2034 (DP 2034) to remove the garden reservation from an around-2-acre plot in Goregaon West. Instead, officials have proposed to shift the garden reservation to another plot that is owned by the central government and is already occupied by slums. Activists allege the garden reservation was removed without inviting suggestions and objections from citizens, and was done to benefit the landlord.
According to the 7/12 extract (government records), the controversial plot — bearing CTS number 1208 and located near Inorbit Mall — is owned by a private citizen. As per DP 1991, it had a garden reservation. There was no BMC access road to this plot either, as per DP 1991. But, in the DP 2034, the plot's reservation has been changed from garden to hospital, along with a 9-metre access road.
The garden reservation was shifted to plot number 1209, which is under the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and belongs to the central government. Later, the garden reservation was once again shifted to plot 1207, which too is an MTNL property. However, this plot has already been encroached by slum dwellers, making the garden's fate all the more doubtful. BMC had uploaded the DP sheets (ward-wise maps) of the island city and the western and eastern suburbs online.
Even before the proposed change in reservation, the plot was being used as a parking lot
No objections invited
Sachin Chavan, a local activist, said, "Suggestions and objections were invited before changing reservation from 1209 to 1207 [both MTNL plots]. But, the plot originally reserved as a garden [plot 1208] was proposed to change to a hospital reservation — this was done without inviting any suggestion or objection." Chavan has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BMC chief Ajoy Mehta, alleging that the garden reservation was changed to benefit a private plot owner, and that too without following proper procedure. "The error should be rectified and stern action should be taken against the errant officials," Chavan added.
Another Goregaon resident claimed that even before the proposed change in reservation, plot 1208 was being used a car park, complete with a compound wall and gate. "When the common man can see blatant misuse of the garden plot, how come no civic officials ever noticed this? Or are BMC officials are turning a blind eye to encroachment? If that's the case then the administration should take action against them negligence of duty," the resident added. When mid-day reached out to Rajendra Zope, chief engineer for the Development Plan and Building Proposal departments, he asked for some time and the details of the issue, but never got back to this paper with a comment.
Size of the plot changed from garden to hospital
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