cities

BMC adopts new policy for land acquisition in open spaces

Under Section 127 of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, 1966, the BMC can acquire private land, marked as open space in the DP, and pay compensation to the original owner.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has adopted a new policy for acquisition of land, which are reserved for open spaces or other public amenities in Development Plan (DP) and cost more than Rs 50,000 per square metre.

Under Section 127 of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, 1966, the BMC can acquire private land, marked as open space in the DP, and pay compensation to the original owner.

However, in view of the financial strain that the BMC has faced owing to the pandemic, it has decided to put a cap on how much money it would invest to acquire such land. The new policy was passed during an Improvement Committee meeting on March 26. BMC officials said under the policy, the civic body will not initiate the acquisition as it would cost a lot of money.

The move will impact the BMC’s attempt to increase open spaces in the city as it will have to forego claim over land parcels that has been reserved for public amenities like playground, garden, schools and health centres in Mumbai’s Development Plan (DP)-2034, if their value is above the limit set by the civic body.

So far, the BMC has received about 150 purchase notices from private land owners whose plots have been reserved for public amenities in DP. They have asked the BMC to either acquire their land or else they would go ahead with its development. The civic body needs to reply to the notices within a year since they were issued.

The officials said acquisition of these 150 proposals will cost about Rs 15,000 crore. “In view of the current financial situation, it will be very difficult to spend this much money on land acquisition. Most of these lands have slums and other encroachments. Rehabilitation of slum dwellers will add more cost to the acquisition. Once acquired, we will have to spend more on the development of these lands,” said an officer from the Development Plan department.

The officials said the city will not lose an entire part of public amenities on these reserved lands as the owners will have to handover amenities after development of the land as per the accommodation and reservation policy.

As per the policy, if any land has reservation of public amenities and the owner wants to develop it then they can go ahead. However, as per the Development Control Regulation rules, the owner has to develop 70 per cent of the land as per the reservation and on the rest, they can develop their own project.

Last year, the BMC had decided not to acquire a plot measuring 5,789 square metre in Borivali, which was reserved for gardens. The BMC had also decided to give Transfer of Development Right (TDR) for acquisition of lands reserved for public amenities, instead of money.

As per the TDR policy, the civic body will offer the land owner some other plot in different areas of the city for development and acquire the reserved land without paying money. If landowners do not want development under the accommodation and reservation policy or TDR, the civic body then will purchase these lands, added an official.

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