BMC wants MRTP Act amended

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation  

Mumbai: After facing a major embarrassment of losing a 13,000 sq m plot in Jogeshwari, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) wants a change in legislation. The corporation has proposed amendments to the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act to re-define the role of planning authorities and define who can serve purchase notices. It wants to limit its role to general assembly resolutions and has said if there is any delay after that, it should not be held responsible.

The plot, in Majas, Jogeshwari, was reserved for a recreation ground and hospital in the 1991 Development Plan (DP) but civic officials failed to acquire it from the owner in time. The BMC tried to do so after the deadline but lost in both the High Court and Supreme Court. It will now be filing a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court in the matter.

One of the reasons for delay in acquisition was the confusion over purchase notice. In this case, there was a to-and-fro of files between the legal and DP departments since the owner on the land records was one person while the notice had been served by another. “Section 127 of MRTP Act stipulates that either the owner or the interested party can serve a purchase notice to the Planning Authority. We want to propose a clear definition of ‘interested party’ as there is none right now. This will ensure clarity in deciding whether a purchase notice is valid or not,” said a senior civic officer.

Besides, in the case of the Jogeshwari plot, the proposal to acquire it had been passed by the Improvement Committee as well as the general body but it could not be acquired in time. The administration is supposed to send a proposal to the district collector along with necessary resolution copy. The collector is then supposed to issue a notification under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act stating that land has been acquired by BMC. This process usually takes months. In the Jogeshwari case, the notification was not issued within the stipulated year, due to which the reservation lapsed.

“We want to propose that if the CR (Corporation Resolution) has been done, that should be considered as steps taken by planning authority to acquire the plot. This means, even if notification is not published, it should not lead to the reservation lapsing,” said another officer from the DP department.

“We are proposing certain things to tighten the entire process of land acquisition. We will be sending the proposal to the State government, which will take a final call,” said Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

The civic administration is in process of creating this draft and sending a proposal to the State government’s Urban Development department. It will require an amendment to the Act by the government and will apply to all urban local bodies.

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Printable version | Oct 13, 2021 1:16:20 AM |

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