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Open spaces and parks in residential layouts to shrink!!!

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The Legislative Assembly adopted the Karnataka Urban Development Authorities Bill, which among other things seeks to reduce the area reserved for parks and open spaces in residential layouts to be developed by urban development authorities.

The Bill seeks to reduce the area to be reserved for public parks and playgrounds in the layouts from the present 15 per cent of the total area to 10 per cent. It also seeks to reduce the area to be reserved for civic amenities from 10 per cent to 5 per cent.

For the full text (emphasis added by me) of the report in The Hindu, click here.

This is plainly a retrograde step taken by the government, which will lead to further densification of the city, already reeling under the impact of the easing of the FSI norms, on top of the TDR (Trasfer of Development Rights) Scheme. And, without commensurate development of infrastructure, which the city and state governments don't seem capable of envisioning in a sustainable way, the quality of life is going to get far worse than it already is, as already pointed out here.

Besides, one of the key factors that stood in favour of the citizens in the fight for revival of the Maestrikere lake (check here), was the lack of the minimum %age of open spaces in Koramangala. The fear now is that government may choose to notify part of that land and perhaps other open spaces too for "development".

As a friend has already stated - "A few of us are planning to write to the Governor and ask him not to give his assent to the bill. I think that RWAs in the city should pitch in to demand that this bill not be signed into law". Yes, quite the need of the hour!

Muralidhar Rao

Letter to Governor 20.07.2016.pdf493.22 KB


murali772's picture

that it doesn't apply to Bengaluru, doesn't make it any better!

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The Karnataka Urban Development Authorities (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which seeks to reduce spaces reserved for parks and playgrounds from 15% to 10% and civic amenity sites from 10% to 5%, will not be applicable to Bengaluru, a senior government official has clarified.

However, it will affect about 250 small towns and cities across the state. Bengaluru region is governed under the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, the Bangalore Development Authority Act, the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority Act, the Bangalore International Airport Planning Authority Act and the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Planning Authority Act.

For the full text (emphasis added by me) of the report in the Deccan Herald, click here.

Well, that it doesn't apply to Bengaluru, doesn't make it any better, as is seen from the following excerpts extracted from a column published in The Hindu by two reputed town planners (full text may be accessed here).

This proposed regressive legal amendment of the GoK will reduce, in real terms, the total per capita availability of these civic functions, for cities in Karnataka, making them less liveable and also less desirable investment destinations. Per capita open space norms, for example, vary between 2 sq.m per person in Hong Kong, where population density average is about 700 persons per hectare, and MoUD’s URDPF guidelines which mandate 10-12 sq.m per person at the city and ward levels. Bengaluru represents a range from about 0.01 sq.m per person in older settlements to about 2.5 sq.m per person in newer planned layouts.

In Mumbai, for its population of 12.44 million, the latest Draft DP that has just been released for public objections and suggestions has adopted an open space standard of 4 sq.m per person. It is important to note that this is over and above the land reserved for residential layout open spaces and amenities, at 15 per cent per development scheme, (a constant since the first DP in 1964), despite the pressures of increasing real estate values and decreasing land stocks.

Diluting the existing standards is a regressive step that means irrevocable loss of open space that will be difficult, if not impossible, to regain in the future. The choice is between more liveable cities and open space close at hand and less space for your child to play.

Meanwhile, someone has started an online petition against the bill (accessible here), which has already gathered some 5,000 signatures as of now.

Simultaneously, a few prominent citizens have submitted a well-worded petition to the Governor, requesting him to return the bill unsigned - copy of the same is attached to the opening post of this blog.

Good to see the entire Civil Society coming together spontaneously to oppose this most retrograde bill in one voice. Hopefully, the CM will take note and have it withdrawn forthwith. He would also do well to identify the coterie behind this move and ease out the members immediately too, so that the message goes out to all concerned not to attempt such mis-adventures in future.

Muralidhar Rao
srinidhi's picture

Even central government..

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Even central government is offering ways and means to violate environmental rules..

"In the newly proposed draft notification seeking to amend the Environmental Impact Assessment, the Central government offers a way out to those who have violated environmental norms"

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