BDA comes under fire again over Draft RMP-2031

The Bengaluru Development Authority has refused to reopen the draft plan saying it will violate the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961.  

The Draft Revised Master Plan (RMP)-2031 is in the eye of the storm again, with the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) refusing to reopen it for public objections.

The BDA was directed by the Urban Development Department (UDD) this March to reopen the controversial draft plan for public objections for another month following a writ petition by the Citizen Action Forum (CAF) in the High Court. However, reopening the draft for objections was pushed forward owing to the Assembly elections.

Now, the BDA has refused to reopen it saying it will be in violation of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961. Rakesh Singh, Commissioner, BDA, said they had written to UDD seeking clarification.

Hearing the CAF petition on how Bengaluru Metropolitan Planning Committee (BMPC) and not the BDA must plan for the city, the High Court had directed the government not to notify the final plan before clearing it with them. Petitioners of CAF had made two arguments — how BMPC must plan for Bengaluru and how BDA’s draft plan was vague and had sought clarifications before responding to it.

The government, while arguing against the BMPC-BDA debate, told the court that it would reopen the plan for objections for another month.

‘Scrap plan’

The move, CAF activist and petitioner in the case N.S. Mukunda said, is the “BDA’s continued efforts to pass RMP-2031 by hook or crook without much public scrutiny.” The BDA has also not furnished any clarifications sought, without which even reopening the plan for objections would be a futile exercise, activists argue.

With the process of drafting the plan having come under much criticism for violating the 74th amendment of the Constitution (devolution of powers to urban local bodies made mandatory), the chorus for scrapping the Draft RMP and restarting the process with wider public consultations has been growing.

“The vision for the plan has to be drafted by people of the city, not respond to a draft prepared by the BDA. The draft should be scrapped and the process restarted with BMPC leading the exercise,” said Srinivas Alavilli, of Citizens for Bengaluru.

Mr. Mukunda said as the RMP-2015 had been extended by over two years, the city can afford to stick with the existing plan for another year and do the RMP-2031 right.

Mathew Idiculla of the Centre for Law and Policy Research said the draft can be taken as the base, and the “good work” done for the past two years can be picked up to redraft the plan based on wider public consultations.

“The BDA’s argument that KTCP Act, 1961 doesn’t allow for another round of public consultation is a clever one. The BDA, earlier, conducted zone-level consultations after it prepared the vision document, which is clearly beyond the scope of KTCP Act. The Act dates back to 1961 and has very limited scope for public consultation. BDA needs to open up itself more,” he said.

‘Reconstitute BMPC’

At the centre of debate over RMP-2031 is the Bengaluru Metropolitan Planning Committee (BMPC).

The BMPC, formed in September 2014, has held only a couple of meetings till date. Chaired by the Chief Minister and legislators as its members, it needs to be reconstituted and renotified with the new Assembly taking charge, civic activists said.

However, even over a month after the new Assembly was elected, the BMPC is yet to be reconstituted.

A group of activists under the banner of United Bengaluru, an initiative supported by Rajeev Chandrashekhar, MP, wrote to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday placing before him a list of demands, prime among them reconstitution of BMPC and taking over RMP-2031.

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 8:16:05 PM |

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