Objections raised against provisions in the Revised Master Plan 2015

Even as Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has started preparations for Master Plan 2035 for the city, Citizens Voluntary Initiative for the City (CIVIC), Bangalore, has raised objections to the manner in which the Revised Master Plan 2015 was finalised and its provisions.

At a public discussion on Saturday, the former bureaucrat P.S.S. Thomas spoke to representatives of civil society groups and urban planners on the reasons why he found the 2015 plan document objectionable.

According to him, the Master Plan 2015 has only “cursorily implemented or not implemented all the recommendations made by the Thomas committee”.

The P.S.S. Thomas Committee was constituted as an expert advisory panel in 2005 on the orders of the then government to look into the objections that were received against the Comprehensive Development Plan 2015.

The committee’s primary objection was to the provision on mixed land use zones in the plan, making it possible for commercial establishments to come up in residential areas. “Local residents should be given a central role in the articulation of needs through a participatory approach, and empowered to monitor land use, building violations and traffic in their respective localities,” the committee’s report says.

‘Not an elected body’

“As BDA is not an elected body and the prior performance of the elected local body, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), in planning has not been of much value, civil society groups have to be involved in the planning process,” he said.

A letter sent by Kathyayini Chamaraj, executive trustee of CIVIC, to BDA lists 10 objections to the Master Plan, including lack of earmarking space for hawking zones and social infrastructure such as schools, increase in permissible density of population in an area, and reduction in green belt requirements from 56 per cent in the 1995 plan to 35 per cent in the 2015 plan.

A participant at the discussion raised her objection to the demand for public participation in BDA, which is not an elected body, and whose master plan formulation is contracted out to a consultant.

Anjali Mohan, an urban planner who was involved in the consultants’ group that came out with the 1995 plan, said: “It is impractical to demand for the master plan to be done by the elected body, which may not have the necessary expertise. Instead, it is essential for citizens to be involved in BDA and the consultant’s processes.”

Ms. Mohan pointed out that BDA did not have any ownership of the plan, which is designed by the consultant and implemented by the BBMP.

So, citizens need to take up ownership of the plan, the panellists said.

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