Will special development rules help preserve gaothans, koliwadas?

Updated: Jan 17, 2020, 07:21 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Representatives of the communities presented a proposal of the special development control regulations to the civic body last week; it will be discussed, finalised and sent to state govt for approval

Pali gaothan at Pali Hill, Bandra West. File pic
Pali gaothan at Pali Hill, Bandra West. File pic

As part of their fight to preserve their culture, and primarily the areas they live in, the residents of gaothans and koliwadas have come up with special development control regulations. Representatives of the communities presented a proposal of the new regulations to the civic body last week. It will now be discussed, finalised and later sent to the state government for approval. 

Conservation architect and executive director of Urban Design Research Institute, Pankaj Joshi, who has been assisting the communities in formulating the regulations, said that unlike the rest of the city that has to adhere to the regulations laid out by the civic body, gaothan and koliwada residents can ensure that the regulations preserve the character of their neighbourhood. "Since the topography of these areas are not the same as the remaining city, the regular DCR cannot apply to them. We need a special calibrated approach," he added. 

The regulations were designed based on concerns and issues that were discussed at 28 community meetings held across Mumbai between April 2018 and October 2019. All of the gaothans and koliwadas will be placed under three categories depending on the kind of development that suits them.

The Type A category would apply to areas like Matherpakadi, Khotachiwadi and Bandra Village that have either been declared or proposed to be heritage precincts. In this category, land use would have to be maintained as original and not detrimental to conservation.

Type B category would apply to areas like Navghar Pada and Versova Koliwada where buildings are in need of repair, reconstruction or re-development. In this category, while basic improvements and structural repairs can be carried out, residents won't be allowed to construct extensions beyond the existing footprint and height of the building.

Given the density of population in some koliwadas, Joshi pointed out that Type C would apply to majority of them. This category known as community land reserve would allow development of koliwadas where residents have already consumed the permissible FSI. "This cooperative model is based on self-redevelopment and will give the community control over its land," said Joshi. 

Neil Pereira, a member of Pali Gaothan East Indian Residents Association said, "The builder lobby in connivance with civic officials have done a lot of damage to gaothans. We are the original inhabitants of the city and the government should take steps to preserve these communities." 

General secretary of the Koliwada Gaothan Vistar Kruti Samiti, Madhuri Shivkar Patil, said, "Since fishing is the primary occupation of people at the koliwadas, we can plan modern fishing amenities."

When contacted, a senior civic official said, "Members of the internal committee on gaothans and koliwadas will discuss the regulations and discuss ways to improve them. They will later have a discussion with the municipal commissioner before finalising it." 

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