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Delhi's masterplan down the drain?


Shreya Dhoundial,CNN-IBN
Oct 30, 2006 at 09:35pm IST

New Delhi: If you live in Lutyens Delhi, the area in and around the India Gate, it's heaven. But move anywhere beyond it and it's an urban mess.

There are clogged roads, illegal constructions, shops in residential areas and parking hassles. The result of which leads to a court order for a clean up and then traders turn violent on the streets.

It may be fashionable to blame the master plan for it, but that's slightly unfair.

The first master plan made in 1962 required Delhi to have a city centre, Connaught Place, and atleast 75 district centres for large-scale commercial activities. But 40 years down the line, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has managed only nine.

The master plan also entailed Delhi to have 300 community centers, 1250 local shopping centers and 3,000 convenient shopping centers, but less than 15 per cent of that has been implemented till now.

Every successive master plan since then has said the same thing but no one has been listening. Local traders set up shops wherever they felt like, especially around successful markets like GK, South Ex, Lajpat Nagar.

In fact urban planners say the villain of the piece isn't really the master plan but the DDA, which is responsible for implementation and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi which allowed illegal construction in lieu of some hafta money.

"Credibility of DDA and MCD is at an all time low,” an urban planner, Sudhir Vohra says.

The solution they say can come from the DDA and claim it is sitting on huge tracts of land, which urban planners say can be released in a phased manner, so district and local shopping centres can be built for displaced traders.

The 2001 master plan allows for mixed used land in the walled city and Karol Bagh areas, which came up before 1962, so they could be left untouched. But the other areas need to be looked into.

"Also to cease the current parking problem in residential areas build under ground parking lots,” an architect, Dikshu Kukreja says.

And most importantly, experts feel the constant flip-flop of the Delhi government over the issue has to stop.

"This business of trying to regulate and condone what's gone wrong has to stop,” Vohra says.

But the new master plan 2021 plans to do just the opposite. According to the draft note on the NDMC website, the authorities intends to regularise unauthorised colonies and allow mixed residential and commercial land use in several more areas.

So instead of implementing the ‘62 master plan, we'll get a quick fix solution that may please the trader lobby but will do nothing for making Delhi a world-class city.

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