Eminent citizens and civic activists are upset over the urban development department’s recently published draft common zoning regulations, claiming that if turned into a law, they could end up making a shantytown out of Bengaluru.

They said the draft, citing the Centre’s guidelines on the `ease of doing business’, attempts to look at developing cities through a wrong prism and allows mixed zones -where commercial establishments can exist cheek by jowl with residences -which is in violation of court orders. The draft has classified the city into eight zones but allows conversion of land use.

Koramangala 3rd Block Residents Welfare Association and Citizen Action Forum were among the first civic groups that went to court against commercialization in residential areas in 2008, and the verdict in 2013 went in their favour. The court barred BDA from changing land use and prohibited BBMP from issuing trade licences to commercial setups in residential areas where the road width is 40 feet or less.

Nitin Seshadri, who spearheaded the anti-commercialization movement, said, “The draft germinates from real estate lobbies and has nothing in favour of residents. It is contempt of court and we are ready to fight a legal battle.“

Vijayan Menon, another member of the RWA, said the state government is seeking to negate the entire process of formulating the masterplan, after spending crores of ru pees on it. “Has the government forgotten that the new regulations violate two court orders, one passed in 2013 and another in April 2017 (for Indiranagar 2nd Stage)? Has the department forgotten that BDA or BMRDA aren’t the only city planners, it is the metropolitan planning committee under the 74th amendment. Are they deliberately violating the law,“ he asked.

The draft comes in the midst of a war being waged by residents of Indiranagar, Koramangala and Whitefield against commercialization of residential areas. BBMP itself has issued closure notices to commercial establishments in these areas. Praveen S, from Indiranagar 2nd Stage league, said the draft regulations will only make Bengaluru a shantytown and not a smart city .

The department had asked citizens for objections and suggestions. But the citizenry , led by Citizen Action Forum, Koramangala 3rd Block, Defense Colony Residents Association, Indiranagar 2nd stage League, Whitefield Rising and Citizens for Bengaluru, is considering knocking on the court’s doors.

Courtesy by TIMES OF INDIA

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