Public Participation in Preparation of Development Plans
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN PREPARATION OF DEVELOPMENT PLANSSHUBHRANSHU UPADHYAY* VINEET SHRIVASTAV* HARINARAYAN*ABSTRACTDevelopment plans are meant for people.But do people have any say in their processof preparation? What are the merits andpitfalls of public participation inpreparation of development plans? Thepaper tries to throw light on these questionssignificant in the context of seventy thirdand seventy fourth ConstitutionalAmendment Acts.INTRODUCTIONSeventy Third and Seventy Fourth from recognized groups of people such asConstitutional Amendment Acts have set NGO’s, professionals, academicians,upon responsibilities of preparing scholars and experts in addition to proposalsDevelopment plans on Village Panchayats made by authorities.and Urban local authorities respectively. Development Plans are comprehensiveDevelopment plans are documents documents covering socio-economicindicating policies and strategies of aspects, physical infrastructure anddevelopment along with maps and diagrams environmental aspects of development of ashowing spatial elements. delineated area falling under the jurisdictionFor the purpose of development plan of respective development authority.preparation contributions must be asked * Authors are students of Masters Urban & Regional Planning Department of Planning SPA Bhopal.
Social and economic aspects cover firstly a urban development authority forproposal for designating various land uses, development purposes. The respectivesecondly reservation of land for public authority prepares the ‘Draft Developmentpurposes such as education, health, markets, Plan for the area. The draft plan is beingcultural institutions and public places prepared gathering requisite information’sincluding reservation of land for local from various institutions, local authoritiesauthorities. and government bodies pertaining toEnvironment aspects cover designation of requirement of land for public purposes,lungs spaces such as zoological gardens, provision for infrastructure services, existinggreen belts, natural reserves and sanctuaries land uses and road alignments.etc. These also include preservation, The draft development plan is accompaniedconservation and development of green by a statement indicating broadly theareas. Conservation of places of historical proposed land uses and surveys carried outvalue and architecturalinterest. Proposals for the preparation of the same, maps, chartsalso to be made for prevention of air and and statements explaining and justifying thewater pollution and also for flood controls provisions. It also includes draft regulations,particularly in river catchment areas. stages of development, and an estimate ofPhysical Infrastructure includes transport the costs involved in land acquisitions andand communication features such as development.roadways, railways, waterways and airwaysincluding airports their extension and PUBLIC PARTICIPATIONdevelopment. Proposals for services such as In order to understand public participation,water supply, drainage, and sewage disposal, a look at individual meanings of both thesupplies for electricity and gas also needs to terms ‘participation’ and ‘public’ isbe taken care of. essential. Participation is the act of sharing in the formulation of policies and proposalsPREPARATION OF A and therefore furnishing information by theDEVELOPMENT PLAN planning authority and an opportunity toFor the purpose of preparation of comment on that information is a major partdevelopment plan, State government first in the process of participation. Participationdelineate the area and then constitutes the involves discussing in addition to doing and
full participation can happen only by active limitations needs to be looked at in ainvolvement throughout the plan making corrigible manner.process.The term public refers to the entire STAGES OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATIONcommunity inhabiting an area for which the Public participation is sought and applied inplan is proposed. One can regard the a definite codified, manner for the purposecommunity as an aggregate comprising of of preparation of Development Plan.all individuals and groups within the Generally this being done in stages ascommunity. follows.Development plans are to be construed i. Briefing about the proposedsccording to the aspirations and demands of development plan throughpeople for whom it is being prepared. workshops.However there area few limitations to this ii. Call for advises from publicconcept of public participation. participatory groups duringThe first limitation is that the responsibility finalization of goals and objectivesof the plan preparation is and must remain of city development plan.with the respective panning authority. So iii. Priorities regarding area wise plans,there is not any assurance of the outcomes of schemes and there alternatives to beparticipation by persons outside the discussed with public.authority. iv. To obtain comments on draftThe second limitation to participation as a development plan.concept is that the completion of plans and v. Finally to be adopted in meeting ofthe setting of proposals and decisions into a local public authority.statutory form are tasks demanding thehighest standards of professional skill. CONDITIONS FOR PUBLICHence, because of the lack of demand, PARTICIPATION IN DEVELOPMENTapproach and the ability to express people’s PROCESSside, often the representation of the public The public that is, all the concerned citizensdoes not get considered. In order to find a of the planning area for which Developmentsuitable way of participation these Plan is being prepared, can participate in the
plan preparation process in the following landowners adversely affected by the planmanner. proposals and not from the commonFirst, it would be essential for the people to citizens.be aware of the problem and ground realities According to current practices, it is assumedof the locality for which the plan preparation that the participation of people should comeprocess has been initiated. This kind of after the plan preparation. In fact if public isawareness is essential irrespective of the fact invited during the preparation, probablythat the people might or might not be the there is a scope to translate the inputs fromresidents of the planning-targeted area. the public and include them in proposals.Second, they should be aware of the issue ofnotification by the respective planning SHORTCOMINGSauthority, since as on today it is the only In the absence of participation on part ofplatform where they can put forth their public the Development Plan may carrygrievances and objections. Knowledge various shortcomings, some of which arepertaining to its issuance is necessary and enlisted below.important. All notification issued by the i. Civil society organizations and theirplanning authority or the government have a concerns not included and taken carelimitation of publication in few newspaper of.and that of time. So the date of issue is ii. Heritage and nature lovers are notimportant in order that the whole attempt of called for their opinions, thus theparticipation does not go void. Development Plan lacks on issues ofIn addition, people should have a social conservation, protection andconcern for an effort of this kind, which preservation of heritage and nature.would keep them, motivated till the end of iii. Economically weaker sections likethe process. It is also important that the hawkers, slum dwellers and streetsuggestions and modifications raised and vendors, comprises a sizeable sectionproposed by the people are not biased or of society and still not heard for theirdriven by malign intentions of vested grievances, inspite of lack ofinterests. availability of basic facilities such asIt is commonly witnessed that authorities drinking water and shelter.receive objections from persons and
SUGGESTIONS vi. Public participation to be called forEnlisted below are some suggestion by way of organizing workshops,applicable at suitable stages of meetings, discussions andDevelopment plan preparation. exhibitions. i. Series of meeting should be vii. Land acquisition to be phase manner conducted with civil society groups & conveyed to related people with and community building due notification in advance. organizations. viii. Implementation of Constitutional ii. Interviews of slum dwellers, Amendment Act 1992 for hawkers, and street vendors should preparation of Development plan be conducted and their opinions to be which advocates constitution of the included. Metropolitan Planning Committees iii. Contents of a development plan (MPCs), District Planning should be published and should be Committee (DPCs) and displayed on the wed before decentralization of powers should be invitation of objections and carried out. suggestions. ix. In view of advanced technology iv. Objections and reservations should people should be involved in be invited through media, hoardings surveys, data verification and and other available communication assessment of ground realities. channels. People’s representatives i.e. the v. Constitution of community forums, elected corporations should be advisory Panels of people from provided with opportunity for social service, academicians, discussions with all citizens business and politics for obtaining involved, at all stages of divergent views. These panels and development plan. forums can further work as intermediary between public and administrative authorities during implementation stage.
PARTICIPATION OF Development Plan proposals where thesePROFESSIONALS AND EXPERTS issues get totally ignored.A development authority indulges in the Lastly professionals from various strata ofpreparation of Development Plan but does society should come forward on personalnot indulge in its implementation. This level and guide in formulation of objectivesmight give rise to discrepancies while and guidelines of Development Plan.implementation takes place. It is beingadvocated that competent professionals and CONCLUSIONSexperts should be appointed to bridge this Involvement of public and citizens needs togap .They can provide assistance in both be done in order to maneuver the planningplan preparation and subsequently in its process in the correct direction. There is animplantation. urgent need to make people more aware andIt is a common practice that reserved lands to increase their responsiveness forare not being acquired by respective successful translation of their vision in todevelopment agencies, exception being reality.lands reserved for housing and roads. Thus Wide participation from civil society groupscriteria for reserving land, needs from inception stage shall lead toreconsideration. Better understanding among peer groupsAbsence of qualified professionals in local with respect to clarity of objects,bodies vise Municipalities and Panchayats eliminations of dubious and controversialleads to lack of interaction with issues and settlement of contradictions withdevelopment authorities. Local bodies are due reasons.well versed with ground realities and Thus public participation in its right earnestexisting situations but are not equipped with is the need of the day and should be soughtsuitable human resource to communicate the at appropriate stages while makingreal issues to the development authorities. Development Plans.Development authorities do not deal withslum eradication, shelter for economicallyweaker sections, environmental protectionsand preservations etc. This reflects in their
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