The Revised Master Plan 2031 of Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) which reflects the BDA’s vision of the growth of Bangalore over the next 15 years was open for public comments recently. At the outset, when one examines the overall ELU (Existing Land Use) and PLU (Proposed Land Use), there doesn’t seem to be any errors. The errors become evident when one examines the LU (Land Use) classification for each of the 42 PDs (Proposed District).
First, the ELU areas of PDs does not add up to the total ELU mentioned for Industry, Unclassified, Transport, Vacant and Agriculture Land Uses. The PLU areas of the PDs also don’t add up to the total mentioned, in which the PLU of PD 26 is not provided at all (the one provided in the document is that of PD 27). On the other hand, the PLU of PD 31, 37 and 41 is all under agriculture, even though the PLU maps show water bodies, residential spaces and transport networks.
The PLU table of PD 42 mentions 0 Ha under agriculture, while the map shows presence of agriculture LU. The BDA had to correct for these errors before releasing the document for public comments.
In spite of all these errors and errors in existing land use of the RMP 2031, the following is noted:
1) Residential Land Use is expected to double from approximately 18% to 35% of Local Planning Area within 15 years while commercial/industrial LU decreases from 6.95% to 5.58%. One question that emerges from this, is whether the decline in commercial/industrial space will have any implications on population growth and thus the demand for residential LU.
Commercial LU: When the current commercial/industrial land use is 8389 Ha, the document estimates that for 2031 only 2788 Ha of land will be utilised for this purpose. It is not clear why the 2031 requirement is less than the existing LU area, though the document mentions that further industrial growth will be in the neighbouring LPA’s and that 5 to 10% of residential LU is assumed to be taken up for commercial purpose. However, at the PD (proposed district) level, certain PDs (23, 34, 35, 38 and 39) have an increase in commercial LU, while few PDs (11, 12, 22 and 23) have an increase in industrial LU.
Residential LU: The doubling of residential LU also raises questions as to where this space comes from. The BDA seems to be banking on all of the present vacant land (which is 25% of the LPA), and some commercial/industrial as well as agricultural land for this. One needs to watch what measures the BDA has in place to ensure that all of the vacant land gets built up/utilised within the next 15 years.
2) The increase in agriculture Land Use seems to be the most intriguing aspect of the PLU. However, one should not be misled to associate an increase in agriculture LU to an increase in cultivated agriculture, as agriculture LU permits agro processing units, education and health facilities, playgrounds, housing for EWS, landfills, water treatment plants, and under special circumstances it also allows for amusement parks and golf courses. Though overall there is an increase in agriculture land use from approximately 25% to 27%, at the PD level certain PDs gain in agriculture LU while others have a decline in agriculture.
The increase is agriculture LU in few PDs, is due to conversion from vacant spaces (PD 11, 21, 41), Public and SemiPublic Use (PD 30, 41), commercial/industrial space (PD 30) and residential LU (PD 41). The increase is also due to sheer error in the following cases – PD 21 where the map shows a decline in agriculture LU but the table shows an increase, PD 24 where the ELU shows 0 Ha while the map shows presence of agriculture space, PD 31, 37 and 41 where all area is under agriculture though the map shows otherwise, PD 42 which shows 0 agriculture though the map shows agriculture LU. Nevertheless, there is a decrease in agriculture LU in many PDs (22,23,25,26,32,33,34,35,36,38,39), where it gets converted to mostly residential spaces followed by industrial and public spaces.
3) Other Land Use: Going by the RMP, parks and open spaces increases from 1.7% to 3.09%, transport LU increases from 7.29% to 9.80%. However, there is a decline in forest, streams and water bodies, while the NGT buffer will constitute 7.33% of the LPA.