BENGALURU: Bengalureans have unanimously opposed the new zoning regulations and are gearing up to file objections to it. The last day for filing objections is July 31 and several residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) have already lodged objections. A campaign on Twitter, with the hashtag ‘hosazoningbeda’ (don’t want new zoning), is also gaining traction.
Some of the major concerns are that the proposed rules will increase the area in which commercial establishments can come up. Secondly, several outlets which were illegal until now for operating on roads lesser than 40 feet wide may not be illegal anymore.
Many citizens’ groups are also unhappy that the government has not given enough time to residents to put forth their objections to the draft rules.
Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) CEO Sridhar Pabbisetty said they expect to file close to 200 objections from individuals as well as RWAs. “If this does not work out, we have considered taking legal help,” he said.
Pabbisetty, outlining some issues with the draft rules, said, “No survey or study was conducted on allowing commercial activities in residential areas. Not much publicity was given regarding the draft of the Common Zonal Regulations for all Local Planning Areas, 2017. This has been done to protect the commercial lobby. A single zonal regulation cannot be implemented across the state as different cities have different characteristics and conditions.”
A member of the Indiranagar 1st Stage RWA, Swarna Venkataraman, said the draft regulations were akin to the ‘Akrama-Sakrama’ scheme wherein violations were being regularised. She added that the rules were drafted keeping in mind the upcoming elections.
One of the major gripes of the RWAs has been reduction of the minimum road width for commercial establishments from 40 feet to about 30 feet. Swarna said, “The Right to Life of residents is not being considered and public trust is being violated. The draft will provide backdoor entry to illegal establishments in the name of ease of doing business.”
She added that the draft of the zoning regulations did not specify the size of the outlets which could come up.
A member of the Koramangala 1st Block RWA, Nitin Sheshadri, said residents will meet MPs and MLAs in the city to try to convince them to withdraw the regulations. He said, “There won’t be any negotiations. We have only one demand — to entirely withdraw the regulations for Bengaluru.”
Stating that taking the legal route was an option, he said, “All options are on the table.” He added that unified zoning rules don’t make sense as every city has different characteristics.
Over 1,000 citizens sign against new zoning rules
Citizens and members of 337 RWAs handed over the objection letters signed by over 1,000 members to the Director, Town & Country Planning Department against the new zoning rules here on Friday.
In their objection, citizens demanded for a more rational and legal process to be followed. They also reminded the Director that “commercialisation destroys neighbourhoods and residential areas. It makes living in neighbourhoods unsafe.”
Illegal businesses may become legal again
Notices had been issued to commercial establishments which violated the old zoning regulations in Indiranagar, but only some of them were shut. The new zoning rules might allow such establishments to operate again. Swarna says she had drawn up a list of about 200 such outlets in only a part of Indiranagar 1st Stage.
‘Nod for only small biz’
Only small commercial activities like milk booths, vegetable shops, ATMs, clinics, grocery stores and others will be allowed, according to L Shashikumar, Director of Town & Country Planning and Member-Secretary Karnataka State Town Planning Board. “The notification was published on July 1 and we have given one month’s time for filing objections,” he said.
Making your point
Objections and suggestions regarding the proposed regulations can be addressed to the Director, Town and Country Planning Department, M S Building, Gate-04, Bengaluru-1.