Citizens can send in their objections and suggestions within the next two months
Recently, the Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) published the draft of the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) for Puducherry Planning Area (PPA). This is the single-most important document for the entire Pondicherry region, as it will determine how Pondicherry will grow over the next 20 years. The CDP , a statutory plan prepared every 20 years, will direct future development and land use up to 2035/2036 . Once sanctioned, the Government will be empowered to develop every parcel of land under its jurisdiction as per the CDP which will cover Pondicherry and Oulgaret Municipalities, and the Commune Panchayats of Villianur, Ariankuppam, Bahour, Nettapakkam and Mannadipet.
Why should I care about this plan?
Citizens have TWO MONTHS within which they can send in their suggestions and objections in writing to the CDP accessible here.
Here is an example of why you should care.
Here are maps of the Boulevard Area (Wards C & D) extracted from the report. The image contrasts existing land use as in 2015 and proposed land use for 2018 and later.
What the Existing Land Use demonstrates: The entire area west of the canal is made up of largely residential neighbourhoods (highlighted in yellow – R1), with a commercial area (in blue ) concentrated around Grand Bazaar and Nehru Street.
The Draft Proposed Land Use suggests that these primarily residential neighbourhoods be zoned as Mixed Commercial Use (coloured in blue).
Mixed Commercial Zone, in simple terms, means that a shopping mall or nightclub could be built next to your house and you can do nothing about it. Consider the implications on traffic congestion, noise and air pollution, and safety of children and the elderly in our neighbourhoods. Also consider the pressure on electricity and water supply, and garbage accumulation as more commercial uses are allowed to develop in these areas.
Our neighborhoods are already reeling under the pressure of unauthorised commercial development and encroachment, and the accompanying loss of quality of life. Change in land use will also mean that families that have lived in these neighbourhoods for generations will be forcibly displaced due to pressure from commercial real estate development.
Do we want the CDP to legalise this type of development, or do we need to urge our government to emphasise the quality of life for our families and children over the next 20 years? Is there a more balanced and sustainable approach to development possible for Pondicherry?
What can you do as a citizen ?
- Take time to read and understand the documents and maps shared by the TCPD for your commune or panchayat. They are available here. (We found the website maybe down sometimes. If you are not able to access the documents online, please reach out to your local MLA for information.)
- Speak to your MLAs, local government officials at the LAD, Municipality, TCPD or other departments for explanations and information. If aspects of the report are difficult to understand, reach out to local NGOs and CSOs and others who can help.
- Organise meetings within your residential societies and neighbourhoods to discuss the plan and what it could mean for the area you live in.
- Send in your suggestions/ objections in writing as soon as possible to the Member Secretary, Puducherry Planning Authority, Jawahar Nagar, Boomianpet, Puducherry. A copy of the CDP is also available here for viewing.
(The date of publishing this report is unclear as the Pondicherry Gazette website is down. If anyone is aware of the publishing date please share in the comments below).
What has the TCPD shared?
1. Report of the Draft CDP (in English )
2. Proposed Land Use Maps of all wards within PPA (in English)
What has the TCPD not shared, but is required to share as part of the public consultation process?
1. Draft Development Control Regulations (needed to understand type of development uses that will and will not be permitted in these area)
2. Draft Building Bye Laws (needed to understand construction regulations such as permitted heights of buildings, street frontage, fire safety regulations, parking requirements, handicapped access etc.)
3. None of these reports and plans are available in Tamil which is the dominant language in Pondicherry
It is legally binding for the TCPD to make all these documents publicly accessible for citizens to read, understand, and organise public hearings where our voices can be heard. Make your voice count!
Tell us in the comments below what you think about the draft CDP and the proposed land use for your area
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the publication.