THE MAHARASHTRA STATE HAS AN INDEPENDENT TOWN Planning and Valuation Department under the administrative control of the Urban Development and Public Health Department. The department principally deals with Town Planning and Valuation of Real Property,

Duties and Functions.

The duties and functions of this department as stipulated by Government are as under:―

Town Planning: (1) Educating municipalities regarding the advantages of town planning and preparation of development plans and town planning schemes under the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1954. (2) Advising municipalities in the selection of suitable areas for preparation of town planning schemes. (3) Giving required assistance to Municipalities in preparation of development plans and town planning schemes by way of advice as well as loan of the services of technical assistants for preparation of draft town planning schemes. (4) To perform duties of the town planning officer when so appointed by Government, to scrutinise building permission cases, to tender advice to the board of appeal and to draw up final schemes. (5) To issue certificates of tenure and title to owners of lands included in town planning schemes. (6) To advice Government on all matters regarding town and country planning including legislation. (7) To advice and prepare town development, improvement, extension and slum clearance schemes under municipal Acts. (8) To prepare development schemes or layouts of lands―(i) belonging to Government and (ii) belonging to co-operative housing societies and private bodies―with the sanction of Government. (9) To advise officers concerned in respect of village planning and preparation of layouts for model villages, etc. (10) To advise Government on housing slum clearance, regional planning and prevention of ribbon development including legislation thereabout. (11) To prepare type designs for the housing of middle and poorer classes including Harijans. (12) To scrutinise miscellaneous building permission cases and layouts received from Collectors and recommend suitable building regulations for adoption in areas concerned.

Valuation: The Consulting Surveyor to Government is the chief expert adviser of Government on this subject and his duties under this heading include: (1) Valuation of agricultural and non-agricultural lands and properties in towns and villages belonging to Government and intended for sale or lease. (2) Valuation of Government properties for purposes of rating under municipal acts. (3) Valuations for miscellaneous purposes such as cantonment leases, probate or stamp duty, etc. (4) Valuations for fixing standard rates of non-agricultural assessment and prescribing zones of values in all villages and developing localities in the vicinity of important and growing towns. (5) Valuations for fixing standard table of ground rents and land values of lands in cantonments. (6) Scrutiny of awards of compensation (as received from. Government). (7) Supplying trained technical assistants as the special land acquisition officers in important towns where the land acquisition work is of a very important and responsible nature. (8) Giving expert evidence when called upon to do so in district courts and the High Court when appeals are lodged against awards of compensation under the Land Acquisition Act. (9) Undertaking valuation work on behalf of railways and other departments of the Central Government and private bodies on payment of fees, etc., with the sanction of Government.

Other Miscellaneous Duties: (1) To advise various heads of departments of Government in selection of sites required for public purposes. (2) To see that all town planning schemes or layout schemes sanctioned by Government have been properly executed within a reasonable period or periods fixed in the schemes. (3) To advise Government as regards interpretation, amendment or addition to the Bombay Town Planning Act, or Rules thereunder.

The Department started functioning in 1914 with the Consulting Surveyor to Government as its head who was later on assisted by one assistant consulting surveyor to Government, one deputy assistant consulting surveyor to Government and two senior assistants with the requisite staff. As the activities of this department increased, these assistants had to be posted at prominent places in the State to attend to the work of town and country planning very essentially required to be undertaken in and around the towns and cities. There has been tremendous increase in the activities of this department in recent years with the consequential increase in the number of branch offices in the State. The head office of the department is at Poona and the other branch offices are at Bombay, Kolhapur, Kalyan, Nagpur, Amravati and Aurangabad. Some of the officers have been appointed to function as the land acquisition officers. There is thus a full time special land acquisition officer in Poona, one full-time land acquisition officer in Bombay and two part-time land acquisition officers in Bombay and Poona.

The statutory powers regarding planning embodied in the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1915, have been replaced by the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1954. This Act incorporated the provisions of the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1915, and in addition made it obligatory on every Local Authority (barring village panchayats) to prepare a development plan for the entire area within its jurisdiction. The development plan would aim at improvement of the existing congested gaothan portion of the town and would make proposals in respect of outlying open areas so as to guide the development on a planned basis. Development Plan proposals could be implemented by the preparation of statutory town planning schemes. In preparing Town Planning schemes, the planner ignores to a great extent, existing plot boundaries. In designing his layout, existing holdings are reconstituted and made subservient to the plan, and building plots of good shape and frontage are allotted to owners of lands ill-shaped for building purposes and without access. The cost of a scheme is recovered from the owner benefited, to the extent of 50 per cent, of the increase in the value of the land estimated to accrue by the carrying out of the works contemplated in the scheme. When a draft town planning scheme prepared by a local authority in consultation with the owners is sanctioned, the town planning officer is appointed. His duties among others are to hear each owner individually, consider his objections or proposals and make suitable adjustments or amendments in the draft scheme proposals, if found necessary.

Most of the local authorities have no technical staff of their own to prepare development plans and it has been decided that this department should prepare development plans on behalf of Local Authorities under the provisions of the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1954. Accordingly the scheme for preparation of Development Plans was provided in the Second Five-Year Plan and additional staff was sanctioned for the purpose.

There is no branch office of this department in Kolaba district and so the work from this district is being dealt with generally by the Bombay and Kolhapur branch offices of this department. The towns of Panvel and Mahad from the Kolaba district were selected for preparation of development plans under the provisions of Bombay Town Planning Act, 1954 and they were prepared in the Bombay branch office and the Kolhapur branch office of this department respectively. There is one Town Planning Scheme at Panvel, viz., Town Planning Scheme, Panvel No. I, which is in draft stage. The same is on hand with the Assistant Consulting Surveyor to Government, Bombay, acting as an Arbitrator.