Millennium Post

Delhi's water 'woes' turning into 'wars'

New Delh: The Delhi Master Plan 2041 is in the process of being rolled out even as the targets of the Master Plan 2021 have not been fully met, as a result of which the quality of life in the national capital failed to see improvement.

The plan for 2041, to be launched by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) very soon, is expected focus on issues like walkability, redevelopment, street infrastructure, sustainability, quality public transport integrated into Geographic Information Systems (GIS), data on air pollution and regulation of unauthorized colonies.

But, it has not finalized any cohesive structure on the nature of stakeholder management, which includes public meetings and feedback mechanism.

The 2021 plan failed to include people's opinion, and it seems to be having a cascading effect into the 2041 plan too!

Speaking to IANS, Ashutosh Dikshit, founder Citizens' Alliance, said: "The 2021 master plan was a fire-fighting document rather than a planning document. It has nothing except under achievements. Common people or citizen organizations were never engaged in purposeful framework or stakeholder engagement was drawn out. People's engagement is merely on paper. We fear same with 2041 master plan."

Master plan involves strategic thinking to evaluate planning paradigms to potentially re-invent the perception of smart city, which involves beginning of planning at local level leading into zonal and finally feeding into the overall master plan. "The 2021 master plan failed on many aspects.

The 2041 Master Plan should take into consideration the quality of life of individuals. Environmental degradation is also a very important aspect in the scope of master plan especially felling of tress for redevelopment. Feedback from Resident Welfare Associations plays a crucial role in the master plan," said Chitra Sundararajan, visiting faculty at School of Planning and Architecture and urban planning expert.

The essence of the master plan 2041 is to find out what people of Delhi want and not to pursue top-bottom approach to impose ideas on the people. The plan must build into ethos of a participatory approach involving diverse scales and types of public and stakeholder engagement.

The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) -- an autonomous research and advisory body under the Union housing and urban affairs ministry has been engaged into the development of the 2041 master plan.

"We have already conducted 15 focus group discussions involving various stakeholders including RWAs on the 2041 master plan. The feedback from these discussions has already been submitted to the DDA", said NIUA official on the condition of anonymity. This claim of the NIUA is contested by the RWAs.

"We were called for meetings, but don't know whether our suggestions would be incorporated or not," said Amit Agarwal, who is associated with United Residents Joint Action of Delhi (URJA).

Speaking to IANS, Vikas Kanojia, Institute of Urban Designers India(IUDI), said: "Decentralized local area planning by participatory approach has been one of the focal points in the DDA's 2021 master plan.

However, Delhi Master Plan at the scale of 1 : 20,000 is prepared at a very high level of abstraction. It simply does not address ground realities."

In 2021, the next master plan for a period of 20 years will into force, this plan will have introduce rapid structural changes and development pattern, if ill-conceived, it can prove to be potentially hazardous for city's natural ecology and heritage.

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