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Must learn lessons from East Kidwai Nagar project, say experts

The Delhi high court had recently ordered Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre to suggest “corrective measures” and consider scaling down the occupancy at East Kidwai Nagar. The order was based on the report on traffic circulation assessment by Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi.

delhi Updated: Dec 05, 2018 12:42 IST
Risha Chitlangia
Risha Chitlangia
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
east kidwai nagar project,delhi,delhi news
A view of the under-construction site, at East Kidwai Nagar, in New Delhi. Seven government colonies in south and central Delhi are being redeveloped.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

As deficiencies in the Union government’s East Kidwai Nagar Redevelopment Project come to light, experts say there is a need for detailed assessments before similar projects are planned for the national capital in the future.

The Delhi high court had recently ordered Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) to suggest “corrective measures” and consider scaling down the occupancy at East Kidwai Nagar. The order was based on the report on traffic circulation assessment by Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D). There are also concerns about how the water requirement for the colony residents would be met once it is fully functional.

However, the central government plans to redevelop seven government colonies located in south and central Delhi as well. It plans to redevelop Nauroji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Tyagraj Nagar, Mohammadpur, Kasturba Nagar and Srinivaspuri. The plan is to construct a commercial-cum-office complex at Nauroji Nagar and multi-storeyed residential complex along with other social infrastructure in the areas.

End to ‘piecemeal approach’

Experts say there are key lessons to be learnt from the East Kidwai Nagar redevelopment project. Assessment of increase in traffic load, road infrastructure, availability of basic amenities and impact on environment should be analysed on priority, say experts.

Urban development experts say that there is a need for comprehensive plan for all the residential colonies as these are located in proximity. “The land parcels slated for redevelopment lies as a contiguous belt all along the Ring Road. This entire area needs to have an area-level urban design structure plan, which bridges the provisions of the Master Plan at one level and local conditions at another level,” said Arunava Dasgupta, head of urban design at School of Planning and Architecture (SPA).

It is now when the complex is nearing completion, efforts are being made to address the issue of congestion around it. The Delhi PWD is now planning road infrastructure projects to decongest the area and provide smooth entry and exist to the complex. It has proposed five projects to provide smooth access to the complex and ease traffic movement in the area. This is imperative to avoid problems that have occurred due to the “piecemeal approach” adopted in the cases of the East Kidwai Nagar project.

“The primary reason for emerging conditions like that of East Kidwai Nagar is the absence of an intermediate planning and urban design strategy at the area level within each planning zone that gives direction to large scale urban projects through area specific, appropriate guidelines and norms,” said Dasgupta.

Densification debate

Any new development or redevelopment should planned keeping traffic, water availability, sewerage infrastructure and solid waste management system in mind. “These are brownfield developments. While facilities can be provided in newly developed pockets, it is important to study and plan how it will connect with the rest of the city,” said Sanjukkta Bhaduri, professor of urban planning at SPA.

There is a need to address the issue of parking in new development/redevelopment projects. In EKN project, there is a provision for 10,000 vehicles.

“In new projects, especially which are well connected to Metro and bus systems, parking spaces should be reduced. Projects like East Kidwai Nagar not only have an impact on their immediate surrounding area, but also influence other arterial roads in a larger area as well. Therefore, carrying out impact assessments is a must,” said Amit Bhatt, director of integrated urban transport, WRI India.

While some urban planners say that densification through redevelopment is the way to go, others say that not all areas need to undergo densification. AK Jain, former urban planning commissioner with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), says that character of Delhi need to be preserved. “The heritage value and character of Delhi needs to be preserved. The Delhi Urban Art Commission was constituted in the 70s with this aim. Not all areas, especially central Delhi, need to be redeveloped. The basic character of central Delhi need not be altered for property development,” said Jain.

First Published: Dec 05, 2018 12:37 IST