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Master Plan Delhi 2041: What do stakeholders have to say?

Delhi Development Authority (DDA) published the draft proposal for Master Plan Delhi (MPD) 2041 on Wednesday and invited public opinion and objection. Over the next 45 days, any citizen can give their suggestions on the draft policy.

The 487-page document deals with several issues that will impact the city in the years to come. It emphasizes on sustainability, be it environmental, infrastructural, or financial.

The vision document for the next twenty year has already initiated debate over some of its proposals. India Today spoke to experts from different fields to understand their views on the draft policy and how it will affect them.

AK JAIN – TOWN PLANNER

AK Jain, former chief town planner at DDA, said the introduction of a monitoring system with an online database to coordinate between various bodies working in Delhi such as the municipal corporations, Delhi Jal Board, central and state government and so on is a welcome addition.

Jain also said the focus on sustainability is a good sign. “We never thought about environmental issues like carbon emissions earlier, but these are there in the draft policy this time. The policy also mentions becoming a future-ready city to cater to the needs of the youth. Economic viability is another aspect that the master plan talks about. Night life in the city can provide commercial opportunities to various professionals,” he stated.

But Jain also has some reservations regarding the policy. According to him, the city’s future population has been projected carelessly. The document predicts that Delhi will have a population of 29.2 million by 2041.

He also pointed out that a requirement of 34 lakh residential units has been mentioned in the master plan. While 17 lakh units will be made under the land-pooling policy, the policy is silent on how the other 17 lakh units will be made by redevelopment of properties, Jain said.

RAJEEV SURI – ENVIRONMENTALIST

Rajeev Suri, a civil society proponent of urban sustainability and environment issues, was more critical of the policy.

Suri said, “I will give credit to DDA for prioritising environment and proposing sustainable development with an environmental outlook. But inside the policy, there is a different story altogether.”

“The draft policy talks about development even in the green area. This will increase the footprint in areas which should remain untouched. Similarly, agricultural lands will now be available for residential purposes under the land-pooling policy. This will urbanize open spaces,” he added.

MPD 2041 has a separate chapter on transport oriented developments. According to Suri, this will increase densification and continue motorized transport. He also criticised the policy for not including electric vehicles in its plan.

“Charging stations for electric vehicles will require land but no provision has been made in the master plan for that,” he said.

Finally, Suri said the master plan talks of heritage and waste management but suggests no concrete steps for the same.

PRAVEEN KHANDELWAL – TRADE LEADER

Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders, sounded positive about the draft policy. He said that a cursory look at the proposal indicates that MPD 2041 will make radical changes to the development norms of Delhi.

He said, “Besides ensuring pre-existing commercial activity is conducted smoothly, the provision to allow commercial activities in industrial areas will certainly provide more business opportunities in a systematic and regulated way.

“This master plan is different from the earlier master plan in many ways. It has greatly focused on increasing IT activities, providing more opportunities to the service sector, promoting green environment, providing affordable housing for weaker sections, enlarging the hospitality sector and preserving the ancient heritage of Delhi,” Khandelwal added.

However, he stated that DDA plans to shift many wholesale markets but has not provided any details on this in its master plan. “It is very important to include a clear and time-bound policy on shifting of markets,” he emphasised.

In addition, Khandelwal feels that establishments like farmhouses and banquet halls should be given some impetus as they are part of the hospitality sector and provide affordable venues for gatherings in the city.

PANKAJ AGARWAL – GEN SEC, RWA

While traders seem to be happy with the master plan’s commercialization initiatives, resident welfare associations (RWA) hold a different opinion.

Pankaj Agarwal, general secretary of the RWA joint front in Delhi, was very critical of the master plan’s “over-emphasis on commercialization”.

“The character of the city is traditionally and predominantly residential. But now DDA is more interested in bringing a pro-commercial master plan. In 2006-2007 too, when the 2021 master plan was made, commercial shops were provided too much leverage. That trend can be seen in MPD 2041 as well,” Agarwal stated.

“We are demanding more space for community requirements but DDA never provides us that. At the same, more than 200 amendments were made to MPD 2021 in order to provide relief to commercial establishments,” he said.

At present, various groups are studying the provisions under MPD 2041 draft policy in detail. They will send their suggestions within 45 days. After that, DDA will look into all the objections and suggestions before releasing a final notified vision document for the next 20 years.

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