2016 - 2017
Erstwhile constituents of NAGAR now amalgamated:
Clean Air (CA); CitiSpace (CS); Clean Sweep Forum (CSF)
Revised Draft Development Plan:
The Draft Development Plan was scraped by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and a Revised Draft Development Plan (i.e. RDDP) (2014 – 2034) was prepared. NAGAR responded to this RDDP with suggestions and objections. NAGAR wrote letters to Mr. R. Balchandran, the Chief Engineer (DP) and Mr. Ramanath Jha highlighting the flaws that still existed in the RDDP 2034 and certain new additions that were completely unacceptable to the citizens.
Public Open Spaces:
NAGAR filed an RTI asking for information on: a) what are the best practices followed for maintaining the Public Open Spaces according to the MCGM; b) which Public Open Spaces have not been taken back by the MCGM & c) which Public Open Spaces are owned by the MCGM. It was stated by the MCGM that out of 216, it had taken back 90 public open spaces and provided us a list of the same. They further stated that the MCGM was in the process of taking back the rest of the Public Open Spaces.
NAGAR opposed the Interim Public Open Space Policy as the draft policy was still pending with the State Government. NAGAR is of the view that there has to be a final public open space policy and no interim or piece-meal policies.
NAGAR wrote a letter to the Chief Minister, Mr. Devendra Phadnavis objecting to the construction of ‘Theme Park’ on the Mahalaxmi Racecourse Land. In this letter, NAGAR stated that the racecourse land is one of the few large open spaces which serve as a green lung as well as a natural sponge during the monsoons for the Island city. Also, it is Grade II-B heritage structure as per the heritage list appended to the Heritage Regulations for Greater Bombay, 1995.
NAGAR has proposed rejuvenation of vulnerable open spaces – gardens, parks, playgrounds and recreational grounds. To start with, NAGAR identified a garden plot near Mahim which was given under caretaker but was used for illegal parking. NAGAR visited the G-North ward office to bring this to the notice of Mr. Biradar, the Assistant Municipal Commissioner. He immediately issued a memo to the caretaker and approved our proposal for rejuvenation. NAGAR plans to rejuvenate this plot with the help of conservation architects at Nature-Nurture Architects& Planners.The proposal for the same has been prepared, and is ready for implementation.
NAGAR wrote a letter to Mr. Milind Akre, Head of the Maharashtra Agriculture Marketing Board to object to setting up of Farmers’ Market in Public Open Spaces and also provided alternatives for the same.
Forts of Mumbai:
As a step further to the publication of NAGAR’s book titled “Forts of Mumbai – Abandoned Treasures, a project for rejuvenation of Forts was taken up. For the same, NAGAR began working closely with the relevant government authorities like Mr. Sushil Garje, Director, the Directorate of Archaeology & Museums and Dr. V. S. Badiger, Superintending Archaeologist, Mumbai Circle, Archaeological Survey of India (Sion).
A model on rejuvenation of the Bandra Fort is complete. To discuss the implementation process, NAGAR team met Mr. Ughade, H-West ward, Assistant Municipal Commissioner& Mr. Sanjay Sawant, Senior Heritage Conservation Engineer, MCGM. Further, base models for forts have been prepared as a prelude to the preparation of action plans. The State Department of Architecture, as well as the Archaeological Survey of India, have been approached for discussion regarding the respective forts under their jurisdiction.
Quality of Air:
NAGAR is in the process of compiling a report on quality of air in Greater Mumbai and its effects on the health and living conditions of the citizens. For the same, NAGAR approached the MCGM’s Environment Department to know how the quality of air is measured and depending on it what measures are taken by the government to mitigate the problem of acute air pollution in Greater Mumbai. However, there was no affirmative response from the department and the concerned officials stated that the department is assigned the only duty of preparing a status report.
NAGAR also filed an RTI application to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to know how pollution is controlled and monitoring of Ambient Air quality done. However, the reports did not reflect any substantial information regarding the quality of air in the city per se. But, it did state that the Board was experimenting with new monitoring systems developed with assistance from IITM-Pune (Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune).
NAGAR approached the Regional Office of the Indian Meteorological Department, which has developed an application called System for Air-quality weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR). The Public Information Officer at the Office stated that the department has set up 13 such monitoring stations in Greater Mumbai and the information received at these stations is collated and documented for the Environment Status report of the CPCB and the MPCB.
NAGAR also approached NEERI for its work in partnership with IIT-B and others with regards to the on-going project for installing monitoring equipment (WAYU) on traffic signals for breaking down of particulate matter & dilution of polluted air. A pilot project was done by IIT-B near their campus bus-stop.
Based on various documents and the information received on the government portals, NAGAR is in the process of drafting a report on ambient air quality.
Solid Waste Management:
NAGAR drafted an Integrated Solid Waste Management Policy for Greater Mumbai 2016 – 2021 and presented the same to Mr. Ajoy Mehta, the Municipal Commissioner, MCGM. This policy was drafted by NAGAR to constructively resolve the complex issue of managing solid waste for a burgeoning metropolis like Greater Mumbai. The policy was based on observations and analysis of various reports. Currently the policies drafted by MCGM are hugely inadequate and the dumping grounds are reaching crisis levels. At times, the dumping grounds catch fire leading to an outbreak of respiratory diseases. Considering this urgent need, NAGAR drafted this policy to enable a partnership between the people and the MCGM to treat waste in an efficient and scientific manner.
NAGAR filed RTI applications to all the 24 ward offices seeking information on the status of the ward bodies in Greater Mumbai. It was found that some of the wards do not have adequate information, some have provided just a list and some have included even nullahs in it. NAGAR is in the process of compiling a report that will present the status of water bodies and also provide recommendations for their conservation. As always, we are in dialogue with the ward offices for their cooperation.
Meetings and Networking:
Ms. Nayana Kathpalia (Trustee) and Ms. Meher Rafaat (Trustee) met Mr. Ramanath Jha to provide NAGAR’s inputs for the Revision of the Development Plan (2014 - 2034). Mr. Jha has been appointed by the State Government to revise the latest Development Plan.
Ms. Anjali Pandit (Associate Director)attended a stakeholders meeting on the issue of development of Mumbai’s Portland. NAGAR believes that it is very important that a Master Plan be prepared for the entire (EWF) that must be integrated with the Development Plan of Greater Mumbai 2014-2034. The focus of such a plan should be on recreation and leisure for the citizens where at least 50% to 60% of this land must be reserved as public open space. Tree plantation on a large scale must be undertaken to increase the green cover on the rather barren MbPT land.
NAGAR conducted a focus group meeting on Road Space Management. The purpose was to brainstorm on ideastaking an overview of present scenario and concluding with broad areas to devise an action plan.
Ms. Pandit participated in a talk on MCGM’s Comprehensive Mobility Plan 2034. After careful study of the plan, it was found that the plan has very less to deliver. It has only given the number of all kinds of vehicles plying every day, but not analysed any information projecting its impact on the flow traffic, pollution levels, parking space and other road space issues.
Ms. Pandit attended a meeting on “Parking Policy” conducted by Moneylife Foundation. The major points raised were: No parking on arterial roads and certain busy roads; in newly constructed buildings, parking space for the residents as well as visitors should be part of the allowable FSI for the area and no additional FSI should be allowed for this; multi-level / underground parking lots should be devised; penalties for illegal parking & double parking must be increased and so on.