The Maharashtra State has an independent Town Planning and Valuation department under the administrative control of the Urban Development and Public Health department. This department came into existence in 1914 with the Consulting Surveyor to Government as its head. The department principally deals with ' Town Planning' and ' Valuation of Real Property'.

Duties and Functions.

The duties and functions of the department could be grouped under three categories, viz., (1) town planning, (2) valuation and (3) other miscellaneous duties. Under town planning the functions pertain to-

1. educating, advising and assisting the municipalities in the preparation of development plans of town planning schemes,

2. performing the duties of the Town Planning Officers when so appointed by Government to scrutinise building per mission cases, tendering advice to the Board of Appeal and drawing up the final schemes,

3. issuing certificates of tenure and title to the owners of lands included in the town planning schemes,

4. advising and preparing town development, improvement, extension and slum clearance schemes under the municipal acts,

5. advising Government on all matters regarding town and country planning including legislation in that respect,

6. preparing development schemes or layouts of lands belonging to Government and belonging to co-operative housing societies and private bodies with the sanction of Government,

7. advising officers concerned in respect of village planning and preparation of layouts for model villages, etc.,

8. advising Government on housing, slum clearance, regional planning and prevention of ribbon development including legislation in that respect,

9. preparing type designs for the housing of the middle and poorer classes including Harijans, and

10. scrutinising miscellaneous building permission cases and layouts received from the Collectors and recommending suitable building regulations for adoption in the areas concerned.

The duties of the department in respect of valuation are as under:-

1. valuation of agricultural and non-agricultural lands and properties belonging to the Government,

2. valuation for the purposes of fixing standard table of ground rents and land values in respect of lands in cantonments,

3. scrutiny of awards of compensation (if and when  received from Government),

4. supplying trained technical assistants to act as Special  Land Acquisition Officers in important towns where the land...  acquisition work is or a very important and responsible nature,

5. giving expert evidence when called upon to do so in the  District Courts and the High Court when appeals are lodged against awards of compensation under the Land Acquisition Act, and

6. undertaking valuation work on behalf of railways and other departments of Central Government and private bodies with the sanction of Government on payment of fees, etc.

The miscellaneous duties of the department are-

1. to advise the various heads of departments of Government in the selection of sites required for public purpose,

2. to see that all town planning schemes or layout schemes sanctioned by Government are properly executed within a reasonable period or periods fixed in the schemes, and

3. to advise Government as regards interpretation, amendment or addition to the Bombay Town Planning Act or Rules made thereunder.

The department, as stated above, was started in the year 1914 with the Consulting Surveyor to Government as its head. Subsequently, the strength of the department was increased by the addition of one Assistant Consulting Surveyor to Government, one Deputy Assistant Consulting Surveyor to Government and two Senior Assistants with the requisite staff. With the increase in the activities of the department these Assistants were posted at prominent places in the State to attend to the work of Town and Country Planning. The headquarters of the department is at Poona and the branch offices are located at Bombay, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Amravati, Aurangabad, Kalyan and Sholapur. Some of the officers have been appointed to function as Land Acquisition Officers. There are two full-time Special Land Acquisition Officers at Poona and one full-time Land Acquisition Officer at Bombay in addition to two part-time Land Acquisition Officers at Bombay and Poona.

The new Act incorporates the provisions of the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1915. It also makes it compulsory for every local authority (barring Village Panchayats) to prepare a development plan for the entire area within its jurisdiction. The development plan aims at the improvement of existing congested gaothan portion of the town and contains proposals in respect of the outlying open areas. The proposals of the development plan could be implemented by the preparation of statutory town planning schemes. In preparing town planning schemes, it is possible to ignore the existing plot boundaries. In designing the layout, the existing holdings can be reconstituted and made subservient to the plan, and building plots of good shape and frontage can be allotted to owners of lands ill-shaped for building purposes and without access. It is also possible to recover the cost of a scheme from the owners benefited to the extent of 50 per cent of the increase in the value of the land estimated to accrue by carrying out the works contemplated in the scheme. When a draft town planning scheme prepared by a local authority in consultation with the owners is sanctioned a Town Planning Officer is appointed. His duties are to hear each owner individually, consider his objections or proposals and make suitable adjustments or amendments in the draft scheme if found necessary.

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

Consequent upon the re-organisation of States, a branch office of the department at Amravati looks after the work in respect of the four districts of Amravati, Akola, Buldhana and Yeotmal. The Deputy Assistant Consulting Surveyor in the Government is the head of this office. At present, the Central Provinces and Berar Town Planning Act, 1948 and the Central Provinces and Berar Regulations of Uses of Land Act are applicable to this area. It is proposed to extend the application of the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1954, to the above region by replacing the Central Provinces and Berar Town Planning Act, 1948.

There arc 13 town municipalities in this district excluding Chikhaldara town. Of these six are nazul settled towns; the master plans for five of them, viz., Amravati, Paratwada, Achalpur, Badnera and Dhamangaon have been prepared. Chikhaldara which is a hill station in the district has a nominated municipal committee consisting mostly of ex-officio members. A development plan for the hill station has also been prepared. Besides, the department gives advice to the Collector on questions of grant of nazul sites to Government departments, public bodies or private persons. The office is also required to give opinion in cases of conversion of lands for non-agricultural use and has to scrutinize the layouts. Every year a number of layouts are scrutinized and opinions are given in many cases of conversion. A number of layouts in nazul and private lands under acquisition for various purposes including industrial estates, housing schemes, etc., have been prepared. Layouts for developing private fields without recourse, to the Town Planning Act are also prepared by this office when specifically required by private parties.