Maharashtra State has an independent department, viz., Town Planning and Valuation Department under the administrative control of the Urban Development, Public Health and Housing Department. This department, came into existence in the year 1914 with the Consulting Surveyor to Government, Poona now designated as Director of Town Planning, Maharashtra State, Poona as its head.

The department as its name indicates, principally deals with the important subjects such as Town Planning and Valuation of Real Properties. Some of the important duties and functions of this department as stipulated by Government are as under:-

Town Planning Work.

1. Preparation of regional plans, development plans and town planning schemes under the provisions of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 which has come into force in the State with effect from 11th January, 1967.

2. Rendering assistance to the municipal authorities in the preparation of development plans and town planning schemes in the shape of advice as well as loan of the services of technical assistants for the preparation of development plans, draft town planning schemes, etc.

3. Performing the duties of Town Planning Officers, arbitra tors, when so appointed by Government under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966, to carry out surveys, prepare the existing land-use-plans and development  plans, to scrutinise development or building permission cases,  to render advice to the Tribunals of Appeal and to draw up  final town planning schemes, to work as members of the  Regional Planning Boards.

4. Advising the Government on all matters regarding town and country planning including legislation.

5. Advising and preparing town development, improvement, extension and slum clearance schemes under the Municipal Acts.

6. Preparing development schemes or layouts of (i) lands belonging to Government, (ii) lands of co-operative housing societies and (iii) lands of private bodies with the sanction of Government.

7. Preparation of village layouts for extension of old village gaothan and new village gaothan sites.

8. Advising the Government on housing, slum clearance, regional planning and prevention of ribbon development including legislation.

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

10. Scrutinising miscellaneous building permission cases and layouts received from the Collectors and to recommend suitable building regulations for adoption in the areas concerned.

11. Advising the Nagpur Improvement Trust, Nagpur, in the preparation of the improvement scheme under the Nagpur Improvement Trust Act, 1936, to scrutinise the schemes when submitted for sanction, and advise Government regarding sanction to the schemes.

Other Miscellaneous Duties.

1. Advising the various heads of departments of Government  in selection of sites required for the public purposes.

2. Ensuring that all town planning schemes or layouts sanctioned by Government are properly executed within a reasonable period or periods fixed, in the schemes.

3. Advising the Government as regards interpretation, amendment of or addition to the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 or Rules thereunder.

Valuation Work.

The Director of Town Planning is the chief expert adviser to Government on this subject and his duties under this head include:-

1. Valuation of agricultural and non-agricultural lands and properties in towns and villages belonging to Government and intended for the purposes of sale or lease.

2. Valuation of Government properties for the purpose of rating under the provincial Municipal Corporation Act, and function as the Authorised Valuation Officers for finalisation of the lists of assessment of all the properties in municipal towns submitted by the Chief Officers under the provisions of the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965.

3 Valuation for miscellaneous purposes such as cantonment leases, probate on stamp duty, etc.

4. Valuation for the purposes of fixing standard rates of non-agricultural assessment and prescribing zones of values in all villages and rising localities in the vicinity of important and growing towns.

5. Valuation for the purposes of fixing standard table of ground rents and land values in respect of lands in cantonments.

6. Scrutiny of awards of compensation under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

7. Supplying trained Technical Assistants to do duty as 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 the District Courts and High Courts when appeals are lodged against the awards of compensation under the Land Acquisition Act.

9. 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.

Regional Planning.

1. The statutory powers regarding planning were embodied under the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1915, which was in force till its replacement by the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1954. The Act of 1954 generally incorporated the provisions of Bombay Town Planning Act, 1915 and in addition made obligatory on every local authority (barring village panchayat) to prepare a development plan for the entire area within its jurisdiction.

2. The Bombay Town Planning Act, 1954, applied to lands included within the municipal limits only, and therefore there was no provision for exercising proper and effective control over the municipal areas which were growing in an irregular and haphazard manner. The evil results of such un-controlled growth and development have already become apparent in the vast areas outside Greater Bombay and Poona and other important urban centres. It was considered that the only way to tackle adequately these evil effects arising out of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation would be to resort to regional planning for areas around the metropolitan centres like Bombay, Poona and Nagpur and by developing counter magnets for the disposal and relocation of both industries and population within the region.

There was no statutory power under the 1954 Act for the preparation of regional plans which has, therefore, been repealed and replaced by the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966. This Act came into force in the State with effect from 11th January, 1967. This Act provided for establishment of regions and constitution of Regional Planning Boards for the  preparation of regional plans, designation of sites for new towns,  establishment of development authorities to create new towns,  preparation of development plans for the municipal areas and  town planning schemes for execution of the sanctioned development plans. Government has established the Metropolitan Regions  at Bombay, Poona and Nagpur and constituted Regional Planning Boards for these three regions.

The scope of the regional plan for an urban region is to formulate a policy for guidance and control of development within the region in such a manner that:-

(i) Land be used for the best purposes for which it is most suitable, e.g., residential, commercial, as regards to both public and private interests.

(ii) Adequate means of communication be provided for traffic throughout the region.

(iii) Building development be concentrated in areas where adequate public and utility services can be supplied economically.

(iv) Ample areas be reserved as open spaces.

(v) Amenities of the countryside be protected including preservation of landscape.

(vi) Preservation of historical monuments, etc.

Briefly, the object of the Regional Plan is to regulate development so as to maintain a proper balance between buildings and open space and secure healthy and economic urban growth.

3. The department as stated above was started in the year 1914 with the consulting surveyor to Government, Poona (now designated as Director of Town Planning, Maharashtra State, Poona) as its head who was later on assisted by one Assistant Consulting Surveyor to Government (now designated as Deputy-Director of Town Planning) and Deputy Assistant Consulting Surveyor (now designated as Assistant Director of Town Planning) and two Sr. Assistants (now designated as Town Planner) 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 Planning, Valuation, etc., very essentially required in and around the towns and cities. There has been considerable 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 this department is at Poona and other offices at present exist at Bombay, Poona, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Amravati, Aurangabad, Jalgaon, Thana, Sholapur, Akola, Ratnagiri, Satara, Nanded, Ahmednagar, Chandrapur and Bhiwandi. The department also spares officers to work in the awards section of Revenue and Forest department to scrutinise the land acquisition awards in the Bombay collectorate to deal mainly with valuation work in Bombay, in Maharashtra Housing Board to function as Assessor and in the Rural Housing Cell of the Rural Development Department to prepare layouts of villages included in the schemes oŁ that department. Officers of the department are also called upon to give expert evidence in the courts in Land Acquisition Reference and appointed to function as arbitrators to finalise Draft Town Planning Schemes prepared by the Planning Authorities and as part-time or full time Land Acquisition Officers at important places like Bombay, Poona, Sholapur, Kolhapur, Satara, Ahmednagar, etc.

4. Consequent upon the reorganisation of States, that took place on November 1, 1956, a new branch office of this department with Deputy Assistant Consulting Surveyor to Government as its head came into existence at Nagpur for the four districts of Nagpur, Chandrapur, Wardha and Bhandara. The making and execution of town planning schemes and the development of areas was being regulated by the Central Provinces and Berar Town Planning Act, 1948, till 1st May 1965 since when the Bombay Town Planning (Amendment and Extension) Act, 1965, came into force in Vidarbha Region.

A separate branch of this department under a Town Planner as a head of office was sanctioned with its headquarters at Chandrapur in 1965. This branch started functioning with effect from 17th July 1967. The Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning. Act, 1966, came into force since 11th January 1967 in whole of the Maharashtra State.

According to the provisions made in the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966, it is obligatory upon every planning authority (as defined in the Act) to carry out survey, prepare an existing land-use-map and prepare and publish a development plan for the entire area within its jurisdiction. There are in all five municipal councils in Chandrapur district viz., Chandrapur, Ballarpur, Warora, Rajura and Desaiganj.

The development plans in respect of Chandrapur, Ballarpur and Warora are under preparation. The work of development plans of Rajura and Desaiganj will be taken up shortly.

A separate Branch Office with Assistant Director of Town Planning as the head was opened on 19th August 1963 at Chandrapur for preparation of a layout for township of the defence project at Bhandak in Chandrapur district. The branch office was closed after completion of the above work on 30th June 1964.

This department also prepared various other important layouts such as layouts for (i) Village Housing Project Scheme, (ii) Flood Affected Villages in Chandrapur district, (iii) New Townships such as Allapalli Forest Colony and Regree P. W. D. Colony, (iv) Backward Class Co-operative Housing Society, (v) Industrial Estate at Chandrapur, etc. Other references from the Collector, Chandrapur, regarding layouts, non-agricultural permissions, etc., were also dealt with by this office.