4 of the 17 ‘guidelines’ of 2003 are perfunctory and at times even somewhat erroneous.
- #1 speaks of ‘third’ Master Plan, even as law provides for only one continuing plan, and of ‘lessons’ that law and planning sense require be learned from implementation monitoring, which the ‘guidelines’ disregard
- #2 states obvious regional, environment, etc, imperatives while failing to explicate their equity and sustainability goals or acknowledge that the ‘poor migrant’ premise of Delhi’s demography has been proven wrong by Census 2001 as accepted by, say, Planning Commission in a recent report
- #3 mentions DDA’s efforts in ‘evolving the third Master Plan’ and ‘to involve various sections of opinion’ and, by way of explanation of ‘guidelines’, hopes ‘they will be of help in finalizing the draft of the plan at an early date’, but does not connect any of this to the due process for Plan revision
- #17 says ‘DDA will of course keep in view judicial orders’ without clarifying why DDA should be guided in Plan revision not by its Act but by ‘guidelines’ and by judicial orders, usually being secured after keeping facts from the Courts and being disregarded if genuinely ‘pro-Plan’.
2 of the 17 ‘guidelines’ are based on current / emergent paradigms not yet systematically appraised / evaluated and therefore pre-mature to be extrapolated to ‘guidelines’. These are:
- #10 about redevelopment of DDA flats through some sort of co-operative / builder approach in line with the Bill introduced in Assembly the same day despite admitted lapse on Public Notice
- #15 about infrastructure, including metro, etc, focused transportation, a yet to be evaluated shift from the more inclusive approach of not only the Plan but also of recommendation #26 of 1999
The remaining 11 of the 17 ‘guidelines’ of 2003 reiterate ‘recommendations’ of 1999. Of these:
- 4 restate existing Plan provisions without providing accountability about implementation failure. These are #5 (like recommendations #1 to #6 of 1999, about synergy between NCR Plan and Master Plan, a basic tenet of the Plan since 1962), #6 (like recommendation #9 of 1999, about development and not merely regularization of unauthorized colonies, stated in 1990 Plan), #14 (like recommendation #34 of 1999, about Plan implementation, worked out in detail in the 1990 implementation monitoring provisions), and #16 (like recommendations #10 to #13 and #27 of 1999, about built and natural heritage, a central premise of the Plan since 1962)
- 2 restate existing Plan provisions without accountability on implementation and with modifications, rather ‘liberalization’, without explanation of basis. These are #7 (like recommendations #5 and #20 of 1999, about flexible land use instead of regulated mixed land use for flexibility, incorporated after detailed consideration in 1990) and #8 (like #8 and #9 of 1999, about old city, etc, required since 1962, but proposed now with higher FAR instead of decongestion)
- Besides (b) and (c) in #7 about flexible use (apropos industrial use in, like recommendation #29 of 1999, disregarding Plan provisions for space dispersed all over the city for nearly 1 lakh units), #9 (about in-situ slum development in, like recommendations #16 of 1999, disregarding Plan targets for 4 lakh cheap plots integrated in all residential development) condone profiteering by non-implementation of non-remunerative uses in negation of land policy purpose and downsize citizens’ entitlements and take away from them advantage of priority as implementation backlog.
- 2 propose radical changes in the structure of the Plan, not permissible under the Act, in terms of city space configuration without any convincing rationale. These are #11 (like recommendation #24 of 1999, about greater FAR along the Metro corridor that is a simplified generalization without regard to carrying capacity studies, incidentally inconsistent with recommendation #12 of 1999 for tree plantation along major transport corridors), and #12 (like recommendations #14 and #18 of 1999, about vertical construction that is contrary to 1990 Plan recommendation of partially built plotted development as most optimal built form)
- 2 propose major policy changes that are, furthermore, inexplicable for being in cart-before-horse style and inconsistent with the ‘guideline’ about NCR. These are #13 (like recommendation #34 of 1999, about facilitating rather than regulating private housing supply) and #4 (like recommendations #17, #21 and #23 of 1999, about change in land policy to permit private role in land assembly). After 40 years of public land supply this will be fraught with legal complications and is worth considering only if really necessary with no option. Modes of development cannot be decided before extent and nature of development is decided. Any monitoring evaluation is certain to find implementation backlog on pro-poor provisions of the Plan, not amenable to private modes, and carrying capacity constraint calling for restricting land assembly in Delhi and liberalizing it in NCR. These ‘guidelines’ do not seem fit this overall situation obtaining in Delhi in terms of equity and sustainability goals of planned development.
Municipal Corporation of Delhi -Guidelines
- In Delhi the approach of planned urban development has been practiced since the decade of the sixties, which is incorporated in the first and the second Master Plans. It is time that the third Master Plan is concretized which should incorporate the lessons learnt from the experience of the last four decades as well as policy departures to secure proper development of Delhi in its emerging context.
- In the last four decades Delhi has developed into a massive metropolis which has provided shelter to millions of people who have arrived here as part of the phenomenon or rural-urban change and in search of jobs and opportunities. The national capital region has also developed impressively, though with a spatial distortion in the sense that only the Delhi Metropolitan Area (DMA) towns adjoining Delhi have developed and not the National Capital Region (NCR) towns with a spatial gap from Delhi. Within Delhi large areas have developed in a planned manner but large areas have also grown outside the framework of the Master Plan. The need now is to take into account all that has happened and to try and introduce approaches which will ensure that is further development is in consonance with the requisites of modern living and within acceptable environmental parameters. A very important concern will have to be the orderly incorporation of the poor people who migrate from the hinterland.
- The ministry is aware that the Delhi Development Authority has been actively engaged in evolving the third Master Plan and that is held numerous exercise to involve various sections of opinion. The NCR Planning Board has also been engaged in a similar exercise for the national capital region. The Ministry wishes to provide the following guidelines to DDA in the hope that they will be of help in finalizing the draft of the plan at an early date.
- Urban expansion in the two previous plans has been based on the policy of large scale acquisition and disposal of land by DDA. The positive gains and the negative fallout of this policy are before us. On the negative side, it has, quite contrary to the intention of the policy, resulted in the creation of large number of unauthorized colonies and J.J. clusters. Since, under the policy, the farmers could only get the price of compulsory acquisition, they have tended to resist acquisition and, in many cases, to sell their lands for unauthorized colonization through the intermediation of colonizers and land mafia. When the farmers could not escape acquisition they felt deprived of their share in the value addition that occurs upon conversion of agricultural land to urban land. A major drawback in the approach arose from the substantial time gap between acquisition, development and disposal of land, during which period it remains an invitation to encroachment. Aided by inadequate protection of the acquired land and weak enforcement of building regulations, a large number of unauthorized colonies and J.J. clusters have come up and characterize a substantial part of Delhi today. It is necessary to seek a suitable alternative to the past policy of large scale acquisition and disposal of land by DDA. The Ministry is happy that in a number of seminars held on the subject progress has been made towards evolving an alternative approach which would obviate the taking of land by DDA ahead of the commencement of development and which would also provide the farmers a fair share in the developed urban land. The approach should also give the private sector its due role in urban development and housing. Before it is considered for incorporation in the new Master Plan the alternative approach has to be worked out in its details, particularly giving regard to the interests of the poor migrants. Also, regulatory and enforcement arrangements will have to be strengthened to prevent any further growth of unauthorized colonies and J.J. clusters.
- The growth of DMA towns has resulted in deflecting some of the accretion that would have otherwise occurred to Delhi's population. However, a stronger effort is needed to check the growth of migration to the national capital in the future. The National Capital Region Plan has to be much more dynamic. The recent success in harmonization of tax rates among the NCR states needs to be carried forward into economic and industrial linkage policies. Transportation linkages (including suburban rail links and byepass expressways) have to be built. The synergy between the NCR plan and Delhi's Master Plan has to be strengthened.
- The areas of irregular development in Delhi must be expeditiously and effectively incorporated in the mainstream of urban development. Regularization of unauthorized colonies should not just be nominal but also effective, which means that, after due planning, infrastructure of roads and streets, parks, drinking water, drainage, sewage disposal, electricity, schools, medical and community facilities etc. must be provided. The operation of regularization has to be so conducted that the residents may be able to secure sanction of building plans and to build / rebuild in accordance with the municipal laws .
- A major issue that has been debated is that of segregated land use versus flexible land use. While adhering to the requisites of environment the current thinking is in favour of flexible land use, which reaps the synergies between workplace, residence and transportation as also between complementary vocations. Ideally, land use should be responsive to the dynamics of the market. It may be necessary to consider the approach of flexible land use so that solutions can be found to several of the questions that have been vexed in recent years:-
- Mixed residential and commercial land use in many more areas by suitably extending the provisions that have existed in this behalf in the previous Master Plan concerning shops etc. in residential areas.
- Commercial/office use of industrial premises keeping in view its environmental benefits and economic desirability.
- Concentration of industries to the extent of 70% or more in some non-industrial areas making them virtually industrial in use.
- A major theme of the new Master Plan should be redevelopment of
- old and degraded areas (while taking care that buildings of heritage value are protected and conserved) and
- areas that have developed unauthorizedly. The existing legal and procedural barriers to redevelopment, whether contained in the slum related legislation or in the municipal laws, need to be reviewed and positive incentives (such as higher FAR in the old city and the "special area") can be considered.
- The existing slums/JJ clusters ought to be ameliorated by a judicious mix of relocation and in-situ development.
- The question of additions to or reconstruction of flats built by DDA, particularly those which have become aged, has repeatedly arisen. Permission is being
given for some specific additions / alterations which do not impinge on structural safety. In the new master Plan the matter needs to be addressed in a wide perspective. For instance, the DDA colonies, through proper use of the Apartments Act (which can be suitably modified to remove is deficiencies) may be converted into self managing residential communities, which may even be given rights for reconstructing the outdated and derelict structures by making use of the incentive of higher FAR now permitted, consequent to the recommendations of the Malhotra Committee.
- An opportunity for redevelopment in Delhi is offered on the two sides of the metro rail routes, about 70 kilometers of which will become available in the first phase to be completed in 2005. That will be the best use of the synergy between transportation and urban development. A practical approach of providing the requisite infrastructure on the sides of the tracks, say to a depth of about half a kilometer, and of permitting a suitably enhanced FAR in construction could be devised and included in the Master Plan.
- The issue of vertical construction (including that below the ground) needs to be seen in the light of technical devices which are now available. Moreover, vertical construction need not mean higher density, in fact, it may reduce the proportion of ground coverage and enhance greens and common spaces.
- In providing housing, both the cooperative sector and DDA have made sizeable contributions. The approach now needs to be reoriented by providing an active role also to the private sector and also by incorporating the involvement of numerous institutions engaged in the business of finance for housing. Affordable housing has to be brought within the reach of economically weaker sections and of new migrants to the capital. It must also be realized that, with the emergence of alternatives in DMA towns, housing is no more an entirely seller's market. To be able to successfully market its housing units DDA has to effect improvements in quality and reduction in selling prices.
- A major issue confronting the planned development of Delhi is the apparent and frequent violation of the planning and development control norms. There is a growing variation between the plan for Delhi and the city of the ground. It is, therefore, essential the Master Plan policies should be implementable in an effective manner and vigorously enforced. The existing legal framework for enforcement of Master Plan provisions including unauthorized construction and encroachment on public land also need examination so as to initiate proposals for its strengthening, where necessary.
- Much investment has been made in recent years in transportation (in particular, the metro rail, roads and flyovers), telecommunications, power, water supply and sewage disposal. However, shortages still persist for the removal of which efforts will have to be redoubled. It is expected that the Master Plan will include as annexures perspective plans for the development of infrastructure which should be prepared with the involvement of the relevant agencies and experts. A review and harmonization mechanism should be included in the Master Plan. Needless to say, in the endeavlour of infrastructure development there has to be complete coordination between the Government of NCT of Delhi and its relevant organizations, the municipal bodies. DDA and the various public and private sector entities engaged in building and running the infrastructure.
- Thanks to the efforts of various official organizations and the cooperation of the people, the green cover in Delhi has increased in recent years. That direction of progress has to be maintained. The character of the forests developed in the city needs to be enhanced. The initiative of DDA to develop bio-diversity parks one for the biotic communities of the riverbed and the other of Aravali, is admirable and should be implemented with vigour. It is expected that the Master Plan will have a separate section on protection and conservation of heritage with which Delhi is so richly endowed.
- While framing the new Master Plan, DDA will of course keep in view judicial orders that may have a bearing on the matter.