The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which has prepared the plan with help from the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), says that the monitoring of the new plan will be stringent.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which has prepared the plan with help from the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), says that the monitoring of the new plan will be stringent.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

Delhi’s draft Master Plan-2041 must pass the test of implementation, say experts

Experts say that several plans stayed on paper because of lack of stringent monitoring, complexities in policy provisions and lack of acknowledgement of ground realities.
By Risha Chitlangia, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 11, 2021 02:21 AM IST

Monitoring and ensuring implementation of the Delhi master plan provisions will be a big challenge, urban planners and experts said on Thursday -- a day after the Delhi Development Authority uploaded the draft of the MPD-2041 online seeking feedback from the citizens -- while pointing out that several provisions of the MPD-2021, which is currently in effect, have not been implemented or are still in progress.

Regularisation of unauthorised colonies, preparation of ward-level local area plans, a redevelopment plan for special areas, development of integrated freight complexes (IFCs) and shifting of wholesale markets from city’s centre to these IFCs, redevelopment of old planned areas, etc are some of the ambitious provisions in MPD-2021 that never saw the light of the day.

Experts say that several plans stayed on paper because of lack of stringent monitoring, complexities in policy provisions and lack of acknowledgement of ground realities.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which has prepared the plan with help from the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), says that the monitoring of the new plan will be stringent. The MPD-2041, officials said, will be evaluated on 20 key performance indicators (KPIs). The assessment will be quantitative, as DDA and NIUA have collected baseline data for all the KPIs, officials said.

The MPD-2041 proposes setting up three monitoring committees: Environmental Sustainability Committee, Built Environment Committee and City Vitality Committee. A senior DDA official said, “These committees will have members from all the agencies concerned. All the three committees will have to submit an annual progress report to an apex committee chaired by Delhi lieutenant governor.”

In addition to annual assessment based on KPIs, the plan also proposes to develop a city-specific liveability index (Delhi liveability index).

In MPD-2021, several groups or committees were proposed for better coordination between all stakeholders, preparing an action plan for transport, streamlining of processes, etc.

AK Jain, former planning commissioner with DDA, said, “But several of the groups were not constituted. There were a lot of issues related to inter-department coordination, especially related to data. Basic information that is essential for planning for facilities and up-gradation of infrastructure was not available. Monitoring and enforcement were a major problem.”

As per the MPD-2021, local area plans (LAPs) –LAPs indicate all the existing infrastructure in a ward and help in planning for future requirements—were to be prepared at the municipal ward level and a special redevelopment plan was to be prepared for the Special Areas (which includes the Walled City).

While the municipal corporations prepared a few LAPs and the redevelopment plan for the special area, these were never notified. Shamsher Singh, former chief town planner with the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi, said, “There was no clarity on who will notify the special area redevelopment plan. It went back and forth between DDA and the corporation, as the latter didn’t have the power to notify it. LAPs were never notified.”

The MPD-2041 has done away with the provision for LAPs. It proposes to prepare layout plans. Jain said, “LAPs are important for planned development of an area. There is a need for one agency to monitor the implementation of the master plans.”

Another case in point is the MPD-2021 rejuvenation plan for the river Yamuna . Despite the National Green Tribunal order and detailed plan prepared by an expert committee, the plan is nowhere near completion, said Manoj Misra, convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan.

“The plan was to be implemented by 2017,” said Misra. The MPD-2021, Misra said, was not ready on time and then it was revised. “The biggest problem is that suitable changes are made to the master plan as per ground realities. If the plan is constantly altered, then what’s the point of having a master plan?” said Misra.

Another important provision in the MPD-2021 that wasn’t implemented was the setting up of the Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA). The draft plan 2041 also mentions it.

Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), said, “Due to the multiplicity of agencies, UMTA is needed for better coordination. With various modes of transportations that are available now, there is a greater need for a unified authority.”

DDA officials say that the monitoring of progress in MPD-2041 will be stringent. There will also be a Plan Monitoring and Review Unit (PMRU) set up by the DDA that will collect data at regular intervals and manage the GIS database. “We have developed a portal for the MPD-2041. We are in the process of uploading GIS-based information about all infrastructure, vacant plots, zonal plans, etc,” said a senior official.

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and land pooling policies, which are aimed at meeting housing requirements and also addressing the issue of traffic congestion by bringing work and office spaces closer, were proposed in MPD-2021. But the two policies are still in the nascent stages of implementation.

While DDA has started work on a TOD project at Karkardooma in east Delhi, the land pooling policy is yet to be operationalised. The land pooling policy is aimed at meeting the growing requirement for housing in the city. Close to 17 lakh dwelling units will come up in 95 urbanised villages located on the outskirts of the city.

Urban planners also pointed at complex policies as one of the reason for slow or no implementation of the plan provisions. The MPD-2021 has provision for the redevelopment of old planned areas and stressed the need for regularisation of unauthorised colonies.

Despite provisions in place, redevelopment in planned areas couldn’t happen. Sabyasachi Das, former planning commission with DDA said, “For the redevelopment, people had to come together, as not many have very large plots in planned areas. But this is not possible. There are socio-economic issues, property ownership issues, and then there is the fear of displacement while the work is going on. There are multiple concerns due to which redevelopment, even in planned areas, couldn’t happen. The policies have to be flexible.”

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