Prominent members representing civil society groups and academicians joined hands with Chandni Chowk MP Kapil Sibal to demand the setting up of an independent body of planning experts to resolve the conflict between citizens and the government arising out of poor planning and implementation.
Addressing media persons, Sibal, along with activist and director of Hazards Centre Dunu Roy, IIT professors Geetam Tewari and Dinesh Mohan, JNU professors Arun Kumar, Kamal Mitra Chenoy and Imrana Qadeer, and architect Anil Laull, said that sealing would not solve the city’s problems.
“The problem lies in faulty planning and implementation by the Delhi Development Authority and civic bodies. This can be sorted out only by an independent body of urban planning experts who should be insulated from the pressures of politicians and bureaucrats,” said the activists and academicians. Sibal was of the opinion that there should be an all-party meeting as the problem has to be sorted out politically in the long-term interest of all citizens. Pointing out shortcomings in the previous master plans, Sibal said the Master Plan of 1982 had projected the requirement of 2,560 convenient shopping centres, of which only 600 came up (23 per cent). This demonstrates the gap between demand and supply. So even if the shops were sealed, the demand would remain as it was, Sibal said.
According to the academicians, the way forward is to craft a 2021 Master Plan that makes the city habitable and provides infrastructure to the residents. “Justice is done when court listens to all parties affected and this has not happened,” said Dunu Roy. Architect and planner Anil Laull said that the government itself was the biggest violator of the Master Plan. “The Supreme Court lawyers’ chambers, the buildings in Pragati Maidan and the Vikas Minar itself are in violation of Master Plan norms,” Laull said.