Citizens dub Bangalore Development Authority’s consultation meetings on Comprehensive Development Plan 2031 ‘a sham’

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BENGALURU: Although the decision of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to include citizens in the planning process by holding consultations on the draft of the Revised Master Plan 2031 or the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) appeared to reflect the government’s intent in taking democracy to the grassroots, citizens who participated in the public consultation meetings dubbed it a smokescreen.

Priya Chetty-Rajagopal, member of Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) and resident of Palace Road, said that there had been just one BDA representative, apart from members from SRS Transport Academy at the third public consultation meeting held on Wednesday at St Joseph’s Indian High School Auditorium on Vittal Mallya Road.

“Initially, there were just 20 people, but the crowd swelled in no time, and the discussion picked up pace. Members of resident welfare associations gave insightful inputs, besides mooting probable solutions. The BDA representative just read out the draft. When the citizens’ voices grew louder, he told us that he was there just to inform us what was in store,” she said.

She added that the entire session was recorded. “The agency plans on keeping proof of the meeting. This is to ensure that citizens don’t blame them for not being consulted, which is what happened with the steel flyover,” she said.

Among others, the revised master plan proposes solutions to problems such as solid waste management, zoning regulations and shortage of resources.

The BDA estimates that the population of the city is likely to exceed two crore by 2031. With the jurisdiction of BDA having expanded, the agency plans to develop business districts in the peripheral areas of the city to decongest central Bengaluru. “The plans drawn up by BDA are not adequate for a city that will have a population of more than two crore,” said Priya.

‘Plans are never implemented’

Founding member of the Citizen Action Forum Mukunda N attended two public consultation meetings. “Firstly, the draft plan is not ready yet. So, our suggestions amount to nothing. The Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) needs to be consulted, and their suggestions should reflect the opinion of the citizens. I have seen three master plans being drawn up, but they have not been implemented. The city continues to grow haphazardly. What is the point of drawing these plans?” he asked.

Mukunda, and architect Naresh Narasimhan also raised concerns over depleting green cover in the city. “The land use plans indicate only expansion of the city’s limits, and do not show development of satellite towns. Green spaces should be retained for sustainability,” Naresh said.

“The green belt is shrinking in every plan, but I see no remedial measures being taken,” added Mukunda.

Echoing Mukunda’s observations on the need to consult the MPC, CEO of Namma Bengaluru Foundation Sridhar Pabbishetty said, “More data must be made available to the public to understand how the plans are drawn.”

Courtsey: Aparajita Ray | TNN | Updated: 23-Jan-2017

      
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