Bangalore International Centre had arranged a talk on “Mumbai Today, Bengaluru Tomorrow?” by Mr. Darryl D’Monte, Chairperson, Forum of Environmental Journalists of India (FEJI)& Founder President of the International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ) on Tuesday, 5th January, 2016 at 6.30 PM. Ms. K Meera, Trustee, Oorvani Foundation & Co-Founder, Citizen Matters chaired and moderated the discussion.
Mr. D’Monte in his presentation brought out the implications of the serious issue concerning people’s right to know when it comes to the environmental impact issues. He referred in this context to the controversial Coast Road, proposed on Mumbai’s western sea front. He highlighted that though the proposal was mooted by the Congress Government, it was being vigorously pursued by the present BJP President without any consultation with the stake-holders. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did appoint a committee to advise on the road, the alignment of which was up on its website for several months. Subsequently, the alignment was incorporated into the 20-year Mumbai Development Plan (DP) from 2014-2034, but it was unceremoniously junked when experts and citizens pointed to gaping loopholes and inconsistencies in the document. However the new DP again is being rushed without taking into account the concerns of the stake-holders.
Thus a project which will change the face of the city irretrievably is being given the go-ahead without a single public consultation. What happens in Mumbai is of immense importance to other cities in the country because, by some estimates, Mumbai’s metropolitan region is expected to be one of the biggest urban agglomerations in the world by 2040 with some 40 million inhabitants. Mr. D’Monte cautioned the urban planners and the citizens of Bangalore to ensure that such aberrations do not take place.
Ms. K Meera who chaired and moderated the discussion, pointed out that the stake-holders in Bangalore do take active interest in highlighting their concerns and issues; however, the Master Plans are often decided on the basis of limited visions of the decision-makers.
The Q & A session which was well-handled by Ms. Meera was informative and educative.