Bhopal masterplan 2031 becomes victim of electoral politics

  • Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Sep 14, 2014 20:31 IST

There has been an inordinate delay in the finalisation of Bhopal masterplan 2031. With assembly and parliamentary elections over, the masterplan ought to have been finalised by now. However with civic polls scheduled later this year, the fate of masterplan continues to remain uncertain for another year or so.

Sources said that finalization of the masterplan got delayed, as the poll bound BJP regime in the state didn’t want to offend or disturb people living in and around Bhopal, who might have been hit by the recommendations in the masterplan.

A senior official in Directorate of Town and Country Planning (T&CP), that has framed the draft of the masterplan, said on the condition of anonymity, that the main reason behind the delay was that the BJP wants to avoid allegations of wrongdoing and strategic investments by those close to the ruling party that might surface in case the draft was introduced ahead of the civic polls. He said that draft of the masterplan, which is ready, will be published once the state government makes up its mind.

The finalisation of masterplan has a history of delays.

In 2009, T&CP came up with the draft of masterplan for Bhopal. In April 2010, the proposed masterplan was put in cold storage by the state government following receipt of 2,090 objections/claims/suggestions after its publication in August 2009.

After that the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan directed T&CP to review the plan by involving different subject experts including architects and environmentalists and frame a fresh comprehensive masterplan for Bhopal.

Following this a new process was initiated. However, even after over four years, the new plan is yet to see the light of the day.

The draft of masterplan 2031 has been prepared for a population of 33 lakh and about 800 square kilometre has been included in the planning area. The importance of the masterplan lies in the fact that it would allow more regulated and controlled constructions in and around Bhopal.

Unauthorised development mainly in form of residential colonies is emerging as a big issue in sustainable urban planning process. Experts pointed out that the absence of a proper masterplan was a major reason behind the unplanned/unauthorised development in and around Bhopal.

The present masterplan has divided land utilisation in and around Bhopal into three broader categories and suggested different dimensions for the buffer zones around strategically important places, where construction activities will be strictly monitored and regulated. Also for the first time, the detailed satellite imagery of Bhopal has been linked with the actual land details (land documentation details) on the ground.

Over 82,000 khasra polygons have been linked with the satellite images of Bhopal’s 196 villages (812.97 sq km) that have been proposed under the new masterplan.

When questioned about the delay, joint director, T&CP VP Kulshreshtha told HT that the draft of the masterplan was ready and it would be published and brought before the public after the final approval from the director, T&CP.

He added that the entire process from introduction of draft to invitation of objections and suggestions, examination of the same, public hearing and final notification needs about six months for completion.

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