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Sinned city

Delhi, already creaking under is set to become a megalopolis in the coming decades.

india Updated: May 12, 2006 00:07 IST

If the prickly issue of illegal constructions and unauthorised commercial activities in the nation’s capital could have gone away on its own, everybody all around would have been happy.

Unfortunately, such things are either allowed to flourish or removed forcibly by the concerned authorities. But with the concerned authorities showing little concern over Delhi’s urban degeneration and open flouting of the law, it took the Supreme Court to spell out matters: that illegal constructions were indeed illegal and have to be removed, despite their presence becoming the norm. Be that as it may, the Urban Development Ministry introducing a Bill in Parliament seeking a year’s moratorium on sealing and demolition work in Delhi is welcome, simply because it the first signal that the authorities having a solution in mind.

Delhi, already creaking under its own weight thanks to wildly deviating for years from its Master Plan, is set to become a megalopolis in the coming decades. If it is allowed to continue to grow in an extended north Indian kasba, as it has been under different governments, the city will surely keep its trust with total breakdown in the very near future. We have seen cities like Mumbai suffering today because of yesterday’s apathy. If the signs are ignored, Delhi too will be beyond rescue.

Politicians have already hijacked an urban development issue and turned it into an emotive (read: vote bank) one. The fact that the Opposition created a ruckus on Thursday because of a delay in the Bill being introduced is somewhat surreal — considering the issue being protested by our law-makers was that of postponing any action against illegalities. We understand that because of rampant corruption and the throwing of statute books out of the window for so long, it may be difficult to completely undo all the damage. But to treat the one-year moratorium as a stalling tactic would be fatal for a city that deserves a future.

First Published: May 11, 2006 23:59 IST