2010 - 2011
Erstwhile constituents of NAGAR now amalgamated:
Clean Air (CA); CitiSpace (CS); Clean Sweep Forum (CSF) Publications
CS released the book ‘Breathing Space - A Fact File of 600 Reserved Open Spaces in Greater Mumbai’
on 26 June 2010. The book contains filled in Proforma, sketched layouts and photographical evidence of 600 sites, with ascertained ownership of the plot, details of the site from the Development Plan and a satellite image of the plot. The survey was coordinated by Architect Parul Kumtha who was assisted by 2 Architects and 44 student architects. The teams visited each and every designated site.
- The Hawker case continued in the Hon’ble Supreme Court where the Contempt matter was yet to be heard. The case covered the total inaction by the State Government, the MCGM and the Police Commissioner in the implementation of the Supreme Court Order of 2000.
- In MCGM’s Policy on Street vendors some amendments had to be made to the BMC Act and the Police Act. These have been made and sent to the Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra and the Hon’ble President of India respectively for their signatures. Till these come back signed the next steps will not be taken by the MCGM.
Recreation Grounds, Playgrounds, Parks and Gardens
- The Stay order got by CS on 31.07.2002 still survives which states there can be no SRA Scheme on Reserved Open Spaces in Greater Mumbai without the permission of the Bombay High Court.
- As and when SRA Schemes came to Court for permission, CS received the relevant papers and gave its inputs after a site visit and a proper study of the plan in the light of the prayers of its petition. One such Scheme was the Ramnagar SRA Scheme at Ghatkopar, which was partially for slums existing on the No Development Zone (NDZ). The Scheme’s layouts, maps and satellite images were carefully scrutinized by the Coordinator and the site was visited by junior architects, after which consultations with the Convenor, Co-convenor and lawyers of CS were made and constructive inputs put before the High Court. For details of recommendations
- An RG at Goregaon that had been encroached by transit camps of a nearby SRA Scheme had the local residents trying to save it. CS was closely involved with the local residents and aided them with RTIs, sourcing relevant information with SRA authorities, etc. The local residents had filed a PIL to remove the transit camps from the reserved RG site.
- A Chawl at Lalbaug, Parel that had been in existence for many decades had gone in for reconstruction by MHADA after it had already been earlier repaired by MHADA and was not in a position to be further repaired. The MCGM and Urban Development Department stalled the process of reconstruction by insisting that the land was to be cleared under the High Court order 1152 that does not allow construction on reserved open spaces. However, this clause did not apply to this particular building as the building was in existence before the green reservation was made on the DP and the HC order 1152 applies only to SRA Schemes (which this is not) and that too after 2004. CS helped the residents of the chawl to collate documents that will let their reconstruction process happen without hindrance.
- Local Individuals and organizations were assisted by CS in their struggles to protect their neighbourhood open spaces. Besides the regular help that is in the form of helping with RTIs, meeting local and central authorities as the need may be and guiding them with rules and regulations, etc. to ensure that Reserved Open Space are well maintained.
- CS held several public meetings to disseminate the data collated in the Open Space Survey that is published in the book: ‘Breathing Space - A Fact File of 600 Reserved Open Spaces in Greater Mumbai’.
- Names with locations and ward distribution of 84 plots that were beautified and maintained by the MCGM in 2008-09 were sourced and their existing status verified. The names, locations and landmarks of the 84 plots on which the MCGM claimed to have spent 5 crores per ward for the process of maintenance were surveyed to ascertain the claims. The findings were compared against the data of plots that were in the CS survey and printed in the book.
- Attempts of the Government of Maharashtra (GoM) and the MCGM to re-start the privatization, commercialization and concretization of public open spaces via the Caretaker Policy, which was stayed due to the efforts of CS supported by a public ground swell in Dec. 2007, was being battled all over in every which way possible, as enlisted here:
- Letter to the CM Mr. Ashok Chavan, approaching him once again to keep the interest of the general public in mind and REPEAL THE CARETAKER POLICY in its entirety
- Meetings with local citizens and stakeholders were held to urge them to put pressure on the GoM to repeal the Caretaker Policy altogether.
- A detailed, step-by-step explanation of the issues regarding open spaces was prepared and sent to every CS member (by email and post), explaining to them the importance of saving the remaining open spaces of Greater Mumbai and urging them to foil any attempts to further deplete them by short-sighted, commercial interests.
- Taking inspiration from CS’s work, a localized, new organization was launched for the Juhu-Andheri-Bandra suburbs called “Save Open Spaces” (SOS). This fledgling organization, comprising of 22 members, many of who were members of and had a long-standing association with CS, was dedicated to protecting Open Spaces between the suburbs from Versova to Bandra of Mumbai.
- RTIs and letters to appropriate authorities were sent by CS with regards to 51 purchase notices received by the MCGM for plots that are reserved as open spaces in the DP. The ownership and purchase notice details were collated by CS with which to approach the MCGM to ensure that these lands are purchased and made available to the public for the purpose for which they have been designated.
- Phase II of CS’s survey of Reserved Open Spaces of Greater Mumbai continued under Coordinator Parul Kumtha’s guidance. Three junior architects worked consistently on the wards, with the participation of several student teams from the Sir J.J. College of Architecture, Garodia School of Professional Studies, Rizvi College of Architecture and Bharatiya Vidyapeeth College of Architecture. In addition, junior architects simultaneously compiled the data collected through previous surveys into an easy to access and quantify tabulation for easy reference.
- CS gave valuable inputs to the following studies:
- Mission Save & Recover Public Open Space - presentation made to Ms. Valsa Nair, Secretary of Environment, Government of Maharashtra.
- Revised Draft Proposal to Costal Zone Regulations (CRZ) to Ministry of Environment and Forests. (as suggestions/objections to the public notification)
- Suggestions/objections to the Sectoral Report 4 – Parks & Recreation (Sept. 2010) of Concept Plan for Mumbai Metropolitan Region, India; Phase 2 – Draft Regional Concept Plan.
- Recommendations to the Chief Minister Government of Maharashtra on the Detrimental Policies regarding Reserved Public Open Space Policies in Greater Mumbai.
- Synopsis of CS’s analysis of detrimental policies of the MCGM and GoM on Open Spaces given to Bombay First for meeting with Shri Prithviraj Chavan, CM, GoM.
- CS reworked and revised its vision for open spaces, which was prepared into a synopsis based on analysis of detrimental policies of the MCGM and GoM. This was presented to Shri Prithviraj Chavan, CM, GoM via the organization Bombay First who took the initiative to present such a vision to the CM.
- The issue of conserving Mumbai’s water bodies was discussed with Sandeep Adhyapak of Water Field Technologies – expert in Rain water harvesting & water source management. Mr. Adhyapak on his part was to source experts in his field to work out a strategy ahead.
- CS studied the Vision Mumbai presentation prepared by Surbana – a Singapore based town planning firm and has put down its inputs in the form of suggestions/objections. CS was in the process of a dialogue with Prof. Shyam Asolekar, Environment, Science and Engineering, IIT-B to finalize its feedback.
- CS responded to a news article on the need to employ SATIS codes at three local stations by writing in to concerned authorities with an offer to be proactively involved in the process and share its study from earlier involvement in the process of evolving codes for SATIS i.e. Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme.
- CS has been interacting with Ar. Neera Adarkar on her study of Mumbai’s open spaces commissioned by the MMRDA. In the process, CS gave in its feedback to prioritizing of open spaces for immediate attention by authorities based on a Pair-wise Comparison Technique used by Ar. Adarkar.
- The Public Notifications (PNs) to which CS had sent in their suggestions/objects are:
- Proposed modification to Regulation No. 58(1)(b), note (v) of DCR 1991.
- Proposed Modification to Sanctioned Revised Development Plan of K/E Ward to delete the land bearing CTS No. 166/A-2, 166/A-2A, 166/A-3, 166/A-3A, 166/A-4, 167/A-1, 167/A-1/A & 167/A-2 of Village Majas from No Development Zone (NDZ) & to include the same in Residential Zone (R).
- Proposed modification to change the designation of part of the plot from ‘Cemetery’ to the reservation of ‘Welfare Centre for Bharat Japan Buddha Sangh’ on the plot bearing C.S. No. 47(pt) Lower Parel Division at Dr. E. Moses Road. Worli, G/South Ward.
- Acquiring of land measuring 1160.54sq.m bearing C.S. No. 3D/124 of Mazagaon Division, Mumbai that has been reserved as RG in the Revised Development Plan of E ward.
- Many issues were reported in newspapers based on earlier PNs to which CS had sent in suggestions / objections. CS had promptly sent its suggestions/objections to the journalists. Some of these are:
- PN on Mill land RGs (Article in DNA 6 Jan, 2011)
- Separate entrance to nursing homes (Article in TOI 15 Mar, 2011)
- Misuse of Clause 50 of the MRTP Act to de-reserve and change the use of plots in the Development Plan of Greater Mumbai. (Article in TOI 05Jan, 2011).
CS wrote to Mr. Subodh Kumar, Municipal Commissioner, MCGM who was quoted in the abovementioned article saying that the clause is misused. CS urged him to use his offices to ensure that such misuse does not happen. In the same letter, CS outlined the lacunae in the method in which PNs were then published and how the process could be made more participative.
Government Resolution (GR)
A GR to the effect that designated reserved open spaces can be converted into Tourism Development Zones (TDZ) was circulated on 13 April 2010. CS came out strongly against it. Our scrutiny of the issue brought out that:
- Tourism Department of GoM in consultation with MTDC can identify plots/sites & include them in TDZ
- These can be developed for activities like beach resorts, hotels, motels, restaurants, health farms, water sports facilities, arts and crafts complexes, golf courses, gliding, powered gliding, grass skiing facilities, marinas, jetties and pontoons for docking of boats and swimming pools.
- The GR states that Recreational and Playgrounds of area more 1 Hectare can be converted to TDZ i.e. about 112 plots measuring 247 hectares (618 acres or 28 times Oval Maidan)
- When this provision is available for No Development Zones (NDZ), why is Government looking at using reserved public spaces such as parks/gardens/ recreation grounds/private gardens/private recreation
CS rallied with Members of Parliament to garner support against such a detrimental GR. The MPs were urged to take the matter up with the CM of GoM Mr. Ashok Chavan and other higher authorities, in the interest of the city’s open spaces.
Agencification of Solid Waste Management
- Letter to Sr. Vice President & General Manager of Nickelodeon, requesting them for the study done by Play Life under their patronage on the play habits of school going children in Greater Mumbai.
- In addition, CS had written/expressed its views on various issues related to the city in the following articles/forums:
- Data for article in ‘Off the Record’ (16-31 Jan Issue)
- Article ‘Why Mumbai is at risk in a Natural Disaster’ for Architecture Update (April Issue)
- DNA panel discussion for open spaces (news art. DNA 5 Feb, 2011)
- The E Waste awareness programmes were successfully completed in 10 colleges across the city by CSF. They were a resounding success. Also, e-waste dust-bins were distributed at the programme.
- CSF believed that an Agency / Authority / Corporation is essential to single-mindedly manage the functions of solid waste management, just as BEST manages electricity and transport. This Agency, with set targets and goals, and using scientific and environment-friendly methods will set new standards in SWM. Such an ‘Agencification’ of waste management is currently underway in some cities of the world and is working very well. CSF has been advocating this idea at many forums and so far it has received a fair degree of support.