State to restore 25% land in layouts for open spaces

Govt issues draft notification amending guidelines

State to restore 25% land in layouts for open spaces

Faced with criticism from many quarters, the state government has finally decided to restore to 25% the area to be reserved for public parks, open space and civic amenities in residential layouts to be developed by urban development authorities and private developers.

The Urban Development Department (UDD) has issued a draft notification amending guidelines for the layout development under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (KTCP) Act, 1962. “Regulations pertaining to the layout development are proposed to be amended. Once the new guidelines come into effect, the area to be set aside for parks, open space and civic amenities in a layout will increase to 25% of the total area that is planned to be developed,” Director of Town Planning L Shashikumar told DH.

Of the 25%, as much as 15% is proposed to be reserved for parks and open space; 5% for civic amenities; and 5% for land bank to taken up infrastructure projects in future. Currently, all Urban Development Authorities (UDAs), excluding BDA, BMRDA and BMICAPA, and private developers are reserving only 10% of the total area for parks and open space and 5% for civic amenities. There is no provision to have land bank in any of the UDAs under the existing guidelines, he added.

The government had last year reduced the area to be reserved for public parks and open space in layouts to be developed by UDAs, excluding BDA, BMRDA and BMICAPA, from 15% of the total area to 10% by amending the Karnataka Urban Development Authorities (KUDA) Act, 1987. It had also slashed land to be reserved for civic amenities from 10% of the total area to 5%, drawing flak from citizens in Bengaluru and other cities and towns in the state.

BDA, BMRDA and BMICAPA are governed by their own Acts, while all other UDAs are governed by KUDA Act. UDAs develop their residential layouts under KUDA Act, while private developers across the state develop the layouts under KTCP Act (as per the master plans of the respective cities and towns).

The government was also planning to reduce area for parks, open space and civic amenities by amending Acts related to BDA, BMRDA and BMICAPA. But, it was later dropped due to stiff opposition from public.

Prior to the amendment to KUDA Act, all UDAs used to earmark a total of 25% of land for parks, open spaces and civic amenities.

The amendment was done to enable UDAs to earn more revenue. The total saleable area in a layout will increase if the area for park, open space and civic amenities to be earmarked is reduced. But it, in turn resulted in shrinking of lung space.

“The decision to amend the KTCP Act will not only bring in uniformity, but also increase the much-needed lung space,” former Director of Directorate of Town Planning A V Rangeesh said.

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