After prolonged uncertainty, the Revised Master Plan 2031 (RMP) was finally brought up by the Bangalore Development Authority(BDA) on 25th Nov 2017. The BDA had prepared a Master Plan earlier this January and had held eight public consultations before coming up with this provisional RMP.

According to the BDA report, the population of Bangalore is expected to rise from 90.45 lakh in 2011 to 2.03 crore in 2031. Hence a well-developed plan had to be prepared in order to accommodate this massive increase in population.

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What is a Master Plan?

A master plan is a comprehensive document which provides the broad framework and direction for the growth and development of the city. Such kind of plan aims to integrate the various sectoral plans taking into consideration the overall requirements in terms of land, infrastructure, services, physical and social amenities, environment etc. over a 10-20 year frame time.

Keynotes of Bangalore Revised Master Plan 2031

Guiding_Principles_for_Bengaluru_RMP_2031

Image Source: BDA website

  • BDA has opened 80 sq km area for further expansion of the city.
  • This expansion will be across five major corridors – Hosur Road, Mysuru Road, Ballari Road(previously Bellary Road), Old Madras Road and Sarjapur Road – near the city’s border.
  • Residential land use to increase from existing 212 sq km to 424 sq km.
  • Zone – A, B and C have been introduced with no commercialization in Zone A and B if the width of the road is less than 12.5 m as according to the Common Zonal Regulations.
  • The zoning regulations allow for small-scale industries on roads of width 9.5 m to 12.5 m.
  • Three new ring roads, including the long-pending Peripheral Ring Road(PRR) and eight new arterial roads would also be built.
  • Metro routes along the entire PRR will be developed by BDA in future and extension of the proposed Silk Board to K R Puram route (Metro Phase 2A) is there so that the entire Outer Ring Road (ORR) is covered.
  • The agricultural area will shoot up from existing 300 sq km to 322.6 sq km (increase of 7.5%)
  • Power requirement projected by Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited(KPTCL) for 2031 is 4,288 MW as against the existing 2,639 MW (increase of over 60%)
  • Forest land will decrease from 27.53 sq km to 5.7 sq km (sharp decline of around 80%).
  • Provision of 10% mandatory greening for every 2,000 sq km area.
  • Focus on more public transport targeting to carry 70% of trips to the city from the present 50%
  • The gross water demand including non-domestic activities has been estimated at 4,282 MLD(Million litres per day) for the projected population of 2.03 crore.
  • Floor Area Ratio (FAR = Floor area of a building/Land area of building) for buildings falling within 150 m radius from metro stations would have upper ceiling of 4.

BDA had given two months to the public for raising any objections/suggestions against the Revised Master Plan 2031 and the plan would then be approved by the High Court. The deadline given by the High Court to BDA to submit the final Master Plan was 31st December, 2017.

Primarily these are the major objections raised by the public, citizen activists, urban planning experts etc against the Revised Master Plan 2031.

Revised Master Plan 2031

Objections from Public, Source: Newindianexpress

1. Role of Metropolitan Planning Committee

According to social activists and urban planning experts, the issue that forms the base of the objections is the fact that the RMP has to be devised by the Metropolitan Planning Committee(MPC) as per the 74th Amendment of Indian Constitution. Experts feel the BDA is only a governmental body hence not the right authority to draft the RMP. The MPC is the one which must frame the master plan. Legally, even if BDA frames the RMP, other civic agencies like BWSSB and BESCOM are not legally bound to follow it. MPC is a democratically elected body and any plan formulated by the BDA need not be approved and followed by any civic agency.

What is a Metropolitan Planning Committee under the Indian Constitution?

Under the 74th Amendment Act, 1992 Part IXA has been introduced in the Indian Constitution which deals with the issues relating to municipalities. It is provided in the Act that in every Metropolitan area (with a population of 10 lakhs or more), a Metropolitan Planning Committee shall be constituted for preparing a Draft Development Plan for the metropolitan area as a whole. The Metropolitan Planning Committee shall take into account the following for preparation of the Draft Development Plan :

  • Plan prepared by the Municipalities and the Panchayats in the metropolitan area
  • Matter of common interest between the Municipalities and Panchayats including coordinated spatial plans of the area
  • Sharing of water and other physical and natural resources
  • Integrated development of infrastructure and environmental conservation
  • Overall objectives and priorities set by the Government of India and the State Government
  • Extent and nature of investments likely to be made in the metropolitan area by agencies of the government
  • Other available resources, financial and otherwise

The Metropolitan Planning Committee in Bangalore has come into existence in 2014 only. The Karnataka High Court by its order dated 20 June, 2014 directed that elections be held in order to constitute the MPC for Bangalore and till such a body is formed the State government was prevented from making any changes in the land use and to regularise unregularised land.

The task of planning post the 74th Amendment is a municipal function and such a task can be carried out in a proper way only by a constitutionally set up body i.e. MPC.

2. BDA vs MPC

In terms of approach of both the Bangalore Development Authority(BDA) and Metropolitan Planning Committee(MPC) both follow a different process of planning. The BDA sets a master plan for 15 years whereas the MPC envisages a plan for 5 years. A major objection raised by the people against a 15 year plan is that things remain frozen for a long period of 15 years and that too when there is rapid development and infrastructure upgradation happening every now and then.

3. Role of BWSSB, BSES, BMTC

Another aspect the RMP 2031 should consider is the haphazard manner in which the Revised Master Plan 2015 was implemented. All the sister concerns like BWSSB, BSES, BMTC had not been involved in the consultation process even though all these civic bodies have an equally important role to play in the planning process and it is a cooperative effort. All these bodies did not have their own plans, finances to back the MPC which was a major drawback.

The Revised Master Plan of 2015 also allowed mixed use of land wherein commercial activity was to be allowed even in residential areas. However by an interim order of the High Court of Karnataka, commercial activities were stayed in residential areas.

4. Transparency in Revised Master Plan 2031

The Revised Master Plan 2031 despite being a 1000 page document clearly lacks transparency and needs clarifications at many places. But the BDA has refused to clarify for the public at large to raise objections. Despite repeated requests, the BDA has not come forward to provide clarity on the questions raised. As a result, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by the Citizens Action Forum (CAF), a prominent citizen’s group based out of Bangalore to understand the implications of provisions in the draft Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2031. The CAF further sought a direction to the BDA to provide clarifications on questions raised by CAF.

5. Buffer Zones and Green Belt

On May 4, 2016, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued to maintain a buffer zone and green belt of the following:

  • 75 meters from the periphery of lakes
  • 50 meters from the edge of primary
  • 35 meters from the edges of secondary
  • 25 meters from the edges of tertiary Rajkulewas (storm water drains).

This buffer zone was incorporated under the Revised Master Plan and was banned from all construction activities.The NGT further planned on enlarging this buffer zone around the lakes and water bodies under the RMP of Bengaluru, which would be 30 meters for lakes, 50 meters from primary, 25 meters from secondary, and 15 meters from tertiary Rajkulewas. However, the Supreme Court declined to pass this order on 5th March, 2019.

The National Green Tribunal filed a case against two renowned builders for inappropriately invading the buffer zone area limit. Mantri Tech Zone and Coremind Software Zone were penalised by the Supreme Court for their encroachments in water bodies in the area of the buffer zone under the RMP. Each builder was penalised with Rs 117.5 crore and Rs13.5 crore respectively. These two builders were also ordered to demolish their construction and vacate their space in Bellandur catchment area.

Bangalore development plan

Bangalore Development Plan

What Is The Next Course?

The Revised Master Plan 2031 in its current form is the subject of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Karnataka High Court and the High Court has directed the BDA not to notify the RMP 2031 without any direction from the High Court. Once the RMP 2031 is modified after taking the objections into consideration, it has be notified and come into force.

Get Me Roof’s View

A Master Plan is a visionary document pertaining to land use, development, commercial and residential activities, floor ratios among many other infrastructural developments planned for a city. An important document like this plays a role directly or indirectly in the lives of ordinary citizens who are stakeholders in creation of these master plans. But the loopside of the Bangalore RMP 2031 plan is that the elected representatives have a very limited say in the development plan and thus restricting citizens to voice their opinion and contribute to the whole process.

Mr. Vijayan Menon, social activist and member of the Citizen’s Action Forum (CAF) is of the view that the entire BDA plan is a ‘kite flying exercise’. He believes that for a successful master plan one has to learn from past mistakes and not repeat them. As per him – 

“The views of all the stakeholders have to be taken into consideration so as to address the concerns and grievances of all. They should have a say in the drafting process of the master plan and be included in the discussions”.

RMP 2031 envisages that a major chunk of the population shall be shifted to the outskirts so as to reduce the burden in the core of the city. However such a move shall only be possible if there is a joint effort by other civic agencies like BWSSB, BESCOM etc. to develop the place and make it liveable. He further adds – 

“But the master plan in its current form does not involve these agencies and these agencies in turn do not have a mandate to follow the BDA approved master plan.”

The chances of success of any master plan is higher when there is a coordinated effort from all verticals and the process of making a plan, addressing the objections, modifying them is democratically carried out. Lastly what remains to be seen is how the voices and objections of the common man are taken into consideration and if the master plan is modified and improved for the good of the larger population for whom it has been drafted.

The residents of of the city poured in all their objections and opinions when the draft was placed before them. A total of 15,000 suggestions were received by the BDA. Due to this staggering number, a decision to rework on the plan by incorporating these suggestions was made by the BDA.

As of 19th January 2019, the government finalised a revised plan based on the 15,000 suggestions by the residents. Further, a three member committee comprising of retired and serving IAS officers is also formed by the government. In addition to providing timely recommendations and improvisations to the plan, it also will look into implementation and progress of the revised plan.

The draft was finally sent to the government after a delay of 3 years. The reason for this delay was the meticulous use of satellite imagery from remote sensing agencies in order to achieve finesse. It was further delayed due to repeated verification of land.

Stay tuned for more updates. We are closely following up on RMP 2031.

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Image source:  Bikashrd | CC BY-SA 4.0 (Image size lowered for use in this article from original 2.8 MB)

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Shivank Srivastava

Shivank is a Business Management Undergraduate at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan. He likes to read and keeps himself updated about what's happening in the world. Loves cooking and is a die-hard Cricket fan.