BDA clears the decks for RMP-2041

Move has drawn flak, with citizens saying no lessons have been learnt from the RMP-2031 fiasco

The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), whose earlier attempts to get the Draft Revised Master Plan-2031 approved, ended in a legal quagmire, is starting the process afresh. The authority has called a tender to rope in consultants to prepare the RMP-2041 – essentially a Master Plan for the city for the next 20 years.

However, the move has already been called into question by academics and activists, who said the way in which BDA was going ahead with the exercise indicated they had perhaps not learnt any lessons from the Draft RMP-2031 fiasco.

“The law is very clear – it is the Bengaluru Metropolitan Planning Committee that is tasked with planning for the city, not BDA, which is the secretariat for BMPC. It is on this ground that the Draft RMP-2031 was questioned in the Karnataka High Court. Since the new Assembly came into force in 2018, the BMPC has not been reconstituted and does not exist. In the absence of BMPC, BDA seems to be again going ahead with planning for the city. We will oppose this tooth and nail and again challenge it in the court,” said N.S. Mukunda, of Bengaluru Praja Vedike, one of the petitioners against Draft RMP-2031.

In the run up to the preparation of Draft RMP-2031, BDA consulted citizens on a Vision Plan for the city, based on which the draft was later prepared. Now, BDA seems to have skipped that step, drawing the ire of many.

Who plans for the city?

Activists also point out how some private consultants and officials decide the fate of the city for the next 20 years, given that it is not just the BMPC, but even the BBMP council that is non-existent at present.

Moreover, the lack of coordination and the resultant chaos created by no clear policy on who plans for the city, that undid the Draft RMP-2031, still persists and it may be a repeat all over again, cautions Mathew Idiculla, Visiting Faculty, Urban Governance, Azim Premji University. “After the Draft RMP-2031 was finalised, BMRCL, DULT and other agencies came up with a Comprehensive Mobility Plan, which had no mention in the Draft RMP. Now there is a new agency – Bengaluru Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) – coming up, which also has a planning function. Who plans for the city is the moot question and none of these exercises take the holistic view. This confusion still persists,” he said.

Urban planners have also raised questions over the BDA’s decision to extend the RMP for a period of 20 years. “The Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961, very clearly provides for planning for only 10 years. How can BDA plan for two decades? Agreed, the RMP has been delayed by three years; then it should have extended the proposed RMP only by those many years, not a decade,” a professional urban planner said.

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