Draft Master Plan of Delhi fails to impress experts, urban planners

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The draft of the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2041 has drawn scathing reviews from some experts and urban planners. Terming the document a ‘wishlist’, they said that the proposed master plan, which majorly includes ‘copy and paste content’ from the previous MPDs, reflects ‘cosmetic approach’ and has several contradictory provisions.

A former engineer of Delhi Development Authority (DDA), who was privy to formulation of previous MPDs, said that framework for heritage conservation has been diluted to ‘accommodate’ ongoing Central Vista redevelopment project, facing criticism from several quarters.  

Old provisions and concepts have been repackaged basically, he added.

“The draft MPD suggests no radical changes and is almost a carbon copy of previous MPDs; 90 per cent content has been taken from the previous plan and 10 per cent is new, which also raises several questions. It contains some glaring inconsistencies like population projection for next 10-20 years. With such data, how can we determine water and power requirements for the city,” said the retired senior DDA official.

The draft MPD 2041—a set of guiding principles for planned growth of the city prepared by the DDA—was put in public domain on Wednesday to seek suggestions and objections from the public. The responsibility to formulate the plan was given to National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA). 

Another former DDA official said that ‘environmental sustainability’ is prominently mentioned in the draft plan but the document fails to suggest concrete measures to mitigate the biggest problem in the capital— air pollution.

“The authority has divided Yamuna river floodplain (zone O) into—river zone (active floodplain) and riverfront (regulated). What does this mean? The plan prepared by NIUA does not possess practical knowledge and experience. No industry is needed in Delhi but they are necessarily dragging them in the city. Several changes like green development policy are being added because of pressure from politicians and real estate lobby,” he said.  

Referring to a chapter pertaining to transport and mobility, he added that the draft of the plan talks about zero private vehicles by 2041.

However, in the last 20 years, public transit has reduced to 40 per cent from 60-65 per cent. 

A senior government official, associated with a significant redevelopment in the city, pointed out ‘issues’ with regard to regularisation of unauthorised settlements.

“The Master Plan of Delhi says the width of road in unauthorised colonies should be 7.5 metres. Is it practical? A lot of cases will be disqualified just because of this. They are giving only 200 floor area ratio (FAR) there, which is not feasible. At least, it should have been 300-400. Provisions are self-contradictory,”  

He further flagged absence of timeline and actionable points.

“Majority of points in the draft MPD are recommendatory in nature; a kind of wishlist. No timeline has been given. Who will do what? It also hasn’t been clarified. The plan should come with a doable timeline and practical solutions,” he said. 



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