Proposal to shrink National Capital Region
New Delhi: The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) is considering a reduction in the area under the National Capital Region -- a region envisaged in 1985 for coordinated urban development in and around Delhi -- limiting it to within 100km radius from Rajghat, Delhi.
The plan was discussed at the NCRPB’s meeting on Tuesday where the four participating states broadly agreed to it. Currently, the NCR consists of 24 districts in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan and entire Delhi, spread across an area of 55,083 square kilometres.
If implemented, parts of Panipat in Haryana and Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh will be dropped from the new NCR map.
According to the proposal discussed in the meeting, the geographical size of the region will be a contiguous circular region of 100km radius from Rajghat (Delhi). “Beyond 100 km radius and up to the existing NCR boundary, all notified cities/ towns along with a corridor of one km on either side of connecting expressways/ national highways/ state highways/ Regional Rapid Transit System will be included,” a statement from the Union housing and urban affairs ministry said.
“The idea is to have a compact area so that the development can be planned in a better manner,” said a housing and urban affairs ministry official.
A senior NCRPB official said there are a lot of rural areas which are currently part of the NCR. “Tehsil, including rural areas, coming under the 100km radius will be included in NCR. But the state government will decide whether tehsil, which are partly covered under the new NCR boundary, should be part of the NCR or not,” said a senior official.
HT reported on Tuesday that the Haryana government is pushing for a one-third reduction in its area under the NCR. Officials said the proposal to reduce the state’s area was prepared keeping in view that the inclusion of areas extending to even far-flung districts such as Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Mahendergarh, Jind and Karnal, was not serving any purpose in terms of reducing the urbanisation pressure on the national capital.
“Also, the state government feels that restrictions applicable to NCR were difficult to implement in the hinterland included in the NCR,” an official told HT.
NCRPB officials said the NCR delineation plan has been in the pipeline since 2017. “Over the years, new areas have been added to the NCR due to which its area has increased from 30,000 sq.km to over 55,000sq.km. We have been working on various models to reduce the area. But now a broad consensus has been reached between participating states on the matter,” said a senior NCRPB official who is aware of the matter.
In June last year, when the country was facing the raging Covid19 pandemic, experts had questioned the viability of the NCR as a concept, as sealed and unsealed borders at will, failed to share or pool health care infrastructure, and not tried to evolve a common strategy in the face of rising Covid-19 cases. This prompted the Supreme Court to order the Centre to convene a meeting of member states – Delhi, UP, Haryana and Rajasthan – in order to evolve a “common programme and common portal” for easing interstate movement in the NCR.
Also, even 36 years after its inception, except Metro there is no other reliable public transport between the NCR cities.
Urban planning and transport experts say if the proposal to redraw the boundaries of the NCR is implemented, it will be beneficial for all cities and towns in the region.
Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture, said, “The proposed plan will include all the major NCR towns and settlements. It is rural areas in these towns that will be excluded. It will benefit the rural areas, as the state governments can plan for their development in a better manner. The area in the 100km radius can be developed as a core area.”