Swelling cityscape absorbed BDA land as govt wavered on master plan

Swelling cityscape absorbed BDA land as govt wavered on master plan

Delay in implementing successive master plans meant the government has lost out sizable chunk of land earmarked for development under local planning area of Bangalore Development Authority.

Master Plan 2031, the latest to be issued, reveals that a meager 384.82 sqkm out of the 1,026.97 sq km area identified as BDA's local planning areas available with the state government for immediate development.

Complacency in implementing master plans of 2008 and 2015 allowed private development and shrunk the land available with the BDA.

Admitting they are short-spaced, BDA officials say that they are bound by the central government rules to implement the master plan.

They also point out that the dithering over implementation of the previous master plans had been the chief reason for the space constraints they currently face.

In Master Plan 2031, BDA proposed in the land use area statement that 550.29 sqkms area can be utilised for residential, commercial, industrial and public utility services. Ground assessment, however, revealed that only 384.82 sqkms of land is actually available.

As for the remaining 642.15 sqkms, 355.65 sqkms has been farmland; 43.56 SQKM unclassified; 4.86 SQKM public utility; 37.36 SQKM parks and open spaces; 117.53 SQKM transport and communication; 5.77 SQKM forest; 2.88 SQKM waterbodies; 31.04 SQKM streams; 89 SQKM buffer zone left out as per National Green Tribunal direction.

BDA town planner Thippeswamy NK said an increase in conurbation of 80 sqkms is also limited as it includes Yelahanka air force station, other defence facilities, water bodies, forests, mines and quarries and gram thanas.

Much of these land belongs to the state government and can be transferred to the BBMP, he added.

Another BDA official said the Central government standards under the Urban and Regional Development Plan Formulation and Implementation (URDPFI) had been followed while identifying land for development. Its guidelines stipulate 200 as population per acre (PPA) for metropolitan areas.

Former BDA commissioner Jayakar Jerome said the city cannot be crammed any more. The government is left with the choice of maintaining the existing areas and venture outside of the city limits for more development.

"There is a need to plan outside of Bengaluru, especially townships," he said.

Urban analyst V Ravichandar said effectiveness of the master plan would depend on how best the areas are managed. He gave the examples of Barcelona for compact planning and Atlanta in the US for clumsy development. Both have similar population indices.

Though the government encourages people to occupy the emerging suburbs, there is little indication on its development plans.

*A meagre384.82 sqkm available with BDA for local planning area

 *Increase of 80 sqkm cityscape cannot help as it includes defence areas

 *Experts suggest judicious planning with developing townships in the outskirts

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