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Dahisar land use errors ignored to serve vested interests, say residents

Times of India, New Delhi, 21st April, 2015


Clara LewisClara Lewis,

 The New Link Road Residents' Association, which has been studying the draft development plan 2013-34 to understand how the area from Borivli West to Dahisar West and Dahisar East will be developed over the next 20 years, was shocked to find commercial areas marked on the high-tide line. The BMC has even marked public amenities such as cemeteries and community welfare centres in this zone.


"There are mangroves and the sea-water comes in here at high tide, but these areas have been marked for construction," said association members.


Moreover, the mangrove cell in a report to the Bombay High Court, which was hearing a PIL filed by the association, pointed out how an illegal parking lot for tourist buses came up on reclaimed mangroves and wetlands. "This wetland area has been shown as a bus terminus in the proposed DP. It is contempt of court," said Harish Pandey, a member of the association.


What has upset residents is that all these errors were found in the existing land use (ELU) plan and two years back, when the BMC had sought objections/suggestions, they had pointed these out to the corporation. "Not a single mistake in the ELU has been rectified. This has been done to serve vested interests," said Pandey.


Local residents are upset that the BMC has no proposal for mitigation in flood-prone Dahisar East. "Rampant development in CRZ areas will only make us more vulnerable to floods," said Pandey.


Times View


Citizens expect a development plan to set right the ills plaguing Mumbai but this draft DP seems to have regularised blatant encroachments on some of its most precious green zones. Mangroves are important for protecting Mumbai's coastline and what has happened in the Borivli-Dahisar belt will result in long-term damage to the city. Can we expect at least this flaw to be set right? Or has this, too, been deliberately done to favour some lobby or political group?