BENGALURU: Amid digress to Bengaluru’s once verdant past, and apprehensions over the threats that infrastructure projects pose to the city’s dwindling green cover, the urban development department (UDD) has come out with a plan to increase lung spaces by roping in real estate developers. The UDD is proposing to make it mandatory for builders and developers to invest in creating a Lalbagh or Cubbon Park on private land.
Mooted by additional chief secretary for UDD, Mahendra Jain, the proposal will make it compulsory for all developers, who need approval for their building plans from civic agencies, to support the afforestation project. The endeavour will compensate for the loss of trees in the heart of the city, by creating capacious green spaces on its outskirts.
“We intend to implement this project with the assistance of developers, who can pitch in to obtain the land – either government or private property – to create parks in the city,” said Jain. Developers will be asked to finance UDD’s afforestation initiative, and also take on the responsibility of developing lung spaces in exchange for which the department will relax the norms pertaining to open spaces in their projects.
Under the prevailing regulations, builders have to reserve 10-15% of their projects or layouts for public parks or open spaces. However, the new proposal seeks to decrease the stipulated area for open spaces by 5%. “The consideration is a fair offset for the amount they will be investing in the large lung spaces,” said Jain.
Managing director for Century Real Estate Ravindra Pai said the proposal would benefit both developers and the city. “Now, when a developer leaves open space in a layout, the responsibility of maintenance is taken up by the association. These may be maintained or not. But with such a proposal, there shouldn’t be many hassles,” he said.
However, Pai highlighted the need to incorporate the proposal within the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) 2031, if it were to be efficiently implemented. “Once it becomes part of the CDP and sanction process, developers and the government will be able to implement it without hiccups,” he added.
Environmentalists too believe the proposal could turn out to be a feasible solution to the problem of eroding green cover within the city. “However, the government needs to scientifically analyse and identify the location to create these spaces based on a proper study. Further, they will have to plant the right species of trees, which can increase the oxygen levels in the city,” said environmentalist and conservation educationalist, Naveen KS.
As Bengaluru continues on its development march, soaring temperatures and alarming pollution levels in what was once a pensioners’ paradise are indicators of its parlous ecological state. Against such a worrisome context, the urban development department’s initiative to increase lung spaces in the city with the contribution of real estate developers, is most welcome. However, the afforestation drive has little chance of succeeding without the support and cooperation of other civic agencies. Also, the project should not serve as an excuse for the government or civic bodies to indiscriminately fell trees for ill-thought out infrastructure projects, under the garb of progress.
Credits ET Realty