New master plan promises 4% increase in urban area in Ghaziabad, activists demand more green cover
The Master Plan 2031 of Ghaziabad aims to increase urban cover in the city from 36% to 40%--an increase of about 20 square kilometres (sqkm)--while the corresponding growth in green cover will be about 15%, which is 3.02sqkm. Worried environmentalists said more spaces should be brought under the green cover given the high pollution levels in the city.
The increase in urban area in Ghaziabad means that its share will increase from 187.92sqkm to 208.8sqkm while the corresponding green area will increase from 28.18 sqkm to 31.2sqkm.
The preparation of the GIS-based Master Plan 2031 is in full swing and is likely to be finalised in a month. Officials of the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) said of the 522sqkm land in the city, around 40% will be urbanised once the master plan rolls out.
“The geographical area remains the same but the proportion of urban area has been increased from 36% to 40%. This will pave way for more housing and civic infrastructure, among other facilities. According to norms, 15% of the land will have to be reserved for green cover,” said Asheesh Shivpuri, GDAs’ chief architect and town planner (CATP).
A master plan is a broad layout of a city and clearly defines different areas according to different land-use such as residential, commercial and industrial, among others.
“The Master Plan 2031 includes plans for Modinagar (including Muradnagar), Loni and Ghaziabad city. The plan will be finalised within a month and will be taken to the GDA board for approval,” said Shivpuri.
However, environmentalists said the city should have more areas under green cover in the new plan, which will come into effect from next year. The current master plan will be in place till this year.
“There is an urgent need to increase the green cover in the city, which is already reeling under high pollution levels. A separate plan, like the master plan, should be prepared for the entire city rather than developing green areas randomly,” said Akash Vashishtha, a city-based environmentalist and a lawyer.
“Moreover, efforts should be taken to find out how much of the 15% green area chalked out in the previous master plan was utilised. Considering the encroachment and vacant land, it is very likely that the green cover may not have been utilised fully,” said Vashishtha.
“If it is found out the previous 15% limit was not achieved, the area should be compensated for in the new master plan,” he added.
In terms of pollution, Ghaziabad city is listed among 16 non-attainment cities in Uttar Pradesh with high pollution levels. Cities are declared non-attainment if over a five-year period, they consistently do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM 10 (particulate matter that is 10 microns or less in diameter) or NO2 (nitrogen dioxide).
According to Forest Survey of India’s State of Forest Report, 2019, Ghaziabad district witnessed a decline of 0.78% in forest area in 2019 compared to 2017. The total forest cover in 2019 stood at 25.22% of the district’s total geographical area of 1,179 sqkm as compared to 26% in the previous forest report released in 2017.
“Developing dense forestry on areas marked as green is the need of the hour. Encroachment is rampant and there has to be strict enforcement; otherwise the city will continue to experience high levels of pollution as it comprises major industrial areas,” said Rajendra Tyagi, councillor from Raj Nagar.