After the independence and Partition of India in 1947, Delhi’s population nearly doubled overnight thanks to mass migration.
The city in 1947 was divided between the congested old part and the stately but sparse New Delhi, apart from inhabitation in some parts of north and west Delhi. The population of Delhi, which was slightly above nine lakhs in 1941, rose to 17 lakh by 1951.Every available space was occupied by migrants and civic services had virtually collapsed. The existing civic bodies, the Municipal body and Delhi Improvement Trust were ill equipped to deal with the crisis.
The population explosion brought with it huge speculation in land and haphazard growth. To prevent this, the central government appointed a Committee in 1950.
New Delhi Icons |
The Committee recommended a single planning and controlling authority, which led to the constitution of the Delhi Development (Provisional) Authority. This body was replaced by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) by an act in 1957. The primary objective of DDA was to ensure the development of Delhi in accordance with a plan.
The plan finally took shape in 1962. “An interim general plan for Delhi was in place till 1958 but there were not many town planners available in the country back then to prepare a master plan,” said AK Jain, former commissioner (Planning) DDA.
“Help was sought from the Ford Foundation and a draft master plan was created in 1958. After receiving around 750 objections and suggestions to the draft, the master plan was finally notified in 1962,” he said.
Land was acquired in large swathes by DDA for development mainly in south Delhi and some areas in north and east Delhi.
However, despite the 1962 master plan and its successors, haphazard growth of Delhi still continues. This can be gauged by the fact that while the 1962 plan expected Delhi’s population to increase from 23 lakh to 47 lakh by 1981, the actual growth was 57 lakh.