Congested areas of Delhi such as Chandni Chowk and Jahangirpuri may have to resort to vertical expansion to create space for amenities like schools and roads. In 2009, the MCD had started a pilot project for ‘local area plans’ (LAP) to help streamline development works in each municipal ward.
The plans have now reached an ‘advanced stage’ and suggest constructing tall buildings for housing and commerce. For these plans, 33 of Delhi’s 272 wards were chosen.
According to Municipal Commissioner KS Mehra, vertical expansion seems to be the only solution for easing congestion. “Once finalised, all stake holders will be approached for the finalisation of plans,” said Mehra, adding that the MCD will discuss ways and means to implement LAP’s final report. Under LAP, all stake holders such as Resident Welfare Associations and traders have to suggest ways to develop the area.
Mehra added that once the proposals are submitted to MCD, the civic body will get the the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) increased in order to channelise vertical expansion. The present rules allow a height of just 15 metres or four floors (ground+3 floors).
A senior official of MCD, however, said that such a large scale expansion can happen only with cooperation from private developers. In return of building the skyscrapers, they can be provided land for commercial activities.
Commenting on the issue, Sanjay Bhargava, general secretary, Chandni Chowk Sarv Vypar Mandal, said that vertical expansion is a mammoth task as Old Delhi has many protected buildings which cannnot be able to be dismantled.
“LAP will take more time to be formulated as Chandni Chowk has many protected buildings. First, they should remove the congestion in the area by removing rickshaws and encroachment,” he added.