With a population of 1.67 crore and counting, the pressure on Delhi's civic infrastructure is growing every day. And this is resulting in the city's green lungs being replaced with a concrete jungle - one park at a time.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has the mandate to modify land use of an area as prescribed in the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD), which needs the urban development ministry's approval.
But the DDA used this power to change the land use of several parks and green areas across the city to accommodate utilities such as houses, bus terminals, power sub stations, gas pipelines, commercial complexes, cremation grounds, etc., in the past one year. In 2012-13, the total area of such parks is more than 200 acres - big enough to house two Jawaharlal Nehru Stadiums.
DDA's pace of modification of land use has seen a spike in the past one year. In fact, land measuring a total of 30 acres has been proposed for modification in the past one week itself.
An area measuring nearly one acre in the lavish green district park near Okhla has recently been marked for building a cremation ground.
More than two acres of the district park area in the greens near Dhaula Kuan, which act as the lungs of this busy intersection, has been chosen for a power sub-station. And the list goes on.
The DDA, however, claims that with growing need for public utilities, it has no other option but to turn to the city's green cover.
Said DDA spokesperson Neemo Dhar, "Broadly, norms specified in the MPD for various uses are adhered to."
Delhi has the distinction of having the green cover among all Indian cities with 12,478 acres of greens with DDA and nearly 14,000 big and small parks maintained by the three Municipal Corporations.
The fast pace of development and DDA's penchant for choking greens with concrete, however, could mean Delhi losing its tag of being the greenest city in India.