Why is freeing up land an issue?
The proposals to unlock hitherto-untouchable land parcels have run into criticism from its drafting days.
Buffer zones of mangroves, mudflats and creeks were designated as No Development Zones in the 1991 plan, but the authorities have earmarked 2,100 hectares of such land for affordable housing.
The logic: these zones were not supposed to be locked away forever. Another 330 hectares of saltpan lands will be diverted from the Mumbai Port Trust’s reserves.
The Aarey Colony remains a green zone, but 300 acres has been set aside for a Metro Rail car shed, a second zoo and the rehabilitation of tribal. Besides, 14.96 sq. km. of virgin land (mangroves) has been included as Natural Areas, which will be left untouched.
Will it ease civic woes?
Despite Mumbai’s huge population, the total area under housing is just about 22% and the city’s planners want to make that 50%.
The area reserved per capita for open spaces, educational institutions and offices will increase, but is still woefully short of international norms.
In order to add to the existing open spaces, a 300-acre garden will be developed on reclaimed land at Cuffe Parade on the lines of New York’s Central Park. Another such garden will be developed by the Mumbai Port Trust at Sewree.