ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Delhi Master Plan: Good on Paper

The Delhi Development Authority’s Master Plan for Delhi 2021 (MPD 2021) has a please-all formula, designed to cater to all sections of the population. However, a look at the fine-print reveals that many issues have not been sufficiently threshed out. Attempts at balancing the needs of the region’s burgeoning population, expected to reach 2.25 crores in 2021, with the equally vital imperative of ensuring adequate environmental protection as well as conserving heritage precincts look fine, but only on paper. In fact, the plan seems compelled to take shortcuts by its liberal use of terms such as “regularisation” and “legalisation”; moreover, it relies on private-public partnership arrangements as a panacea to meet infrastructural urgencies but does not spell these out satisfactorily.

The plan emphasises the need to redevelop the city in accordance with the growing population, and its needs. The four lakh new housing units projected as necessary will be accommodated by (a) encouraging vertical growth,(b) unlocking 22,000 hectares for group housing as opposed to individual housing, and (c) a shift to the satellite towns. This is, however, juxtaposed against the plan’s judicious earmarking of certain “special status” areas especially in the walled city that will be protected. Vertical growth will take care of the shortage of land and will be facilitated by raising the “floor area ratio” (FAR). Properties, whether residential, commercial or educational, will now be permitted to grow vertically. But such redevelopment must ensure certain prerequisites as well, such as having sewage treatment plants and effective garbage wastage disposal methods in place. It should also accord significance to community needs, assess the impact on the environment and make provisions for safe traffic movement and parking of vehicles. The new land marked for development through “unlocking” will be high-rise schemes near the metro rail nodes; 35 per cent of the housing units built will have to be for the economically weaker sections.

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