The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Friday passed the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021 at its board meeting, incorporating most of the populist suggestions made by the city’s politicians. Planners, however, said the plan could lead to a mess.
The DDA will now forward the MPD to the Urban Development Ministry for final approval and notification.
Although it has left it to the ministry to decide upon the controversial issue of the regularisation of unauthorised colonies, the DDA board has approved other dubious suggestions like allowing commercial activity in Delhi’s ‘villages’ through which 24-metre wide roads run. This means establishments like MG1 and MG2 — which were demolished by the MCD — have now been legalised.
Mahabal Mishra, Nasirpur MLA and a member of the DDA board, said: “The Walled City has been declared a commercial area in the MPD 2021. The shops which came up in pre-1962 colonies will be regularised and shopkeepers will not have to pay conversion charges.”
MCD councillor Virender Kasana said, “Mixed land use norms have been relaxed in colonies of all categories except A and B. In all these other areas shops will be allowed to run even on narrow bylanes. Earlier, shops were allowed only along roads which were at least nine metres wide.”
Kasana said farmhouses which had come up before 1990 would be regularised.
Urban planners said these populist measures might affect the chances of Delhi becoming a world-class city.
“I can only see it as recognition of a fait accompli,” said noted planner A.G.K. Menon. “Things are already bad in the city and the DDA is legalising all the existing illegalities. The only good thing is the fact that the DDA is finally acknowledging the ground realities. But as planners they should have drawn a line so that in future the city does not become unlivable because of rampant commercialisation."