A master plan of a city is a vision document by the planners and the land-owning agency of the city, that gives direction to the future development of the city. A master plan is a ‘strategic’ and ‘enabling’ framework to guide the growth of the city, and it builds upon lessons learnt from the implementation of the previous plans. The current master plan of Delhi expires this year in 2021. The Delhi Development Authority, being the support agency, has given preparatory approval to the draft Master Plan for Delhi 2041.
The draft of the Master Plan for Delhi 2041 includes 2 volumes and 22 chapters, which endeavors to foster a sustainable, liveable and vibrant Delhi by 2041. The first volume gives an overview of the present situation in Delhi and estimates the changes to be projected in 2041. With environmental problems being a major concern in Delhi, the plan aims to minimize high levels of air, water and noise pollution. It states that air pollution can be controlled by switching to greener fuels for public transport and adopting mixed-use transit-oriented development. It emphasizes on preservation and enrichment of ecological heritage, considering the harm to local biodiversity and human health due to extreme pollution in River Yamuna. As per the plan, a green buffer of 300-metre width shall be maintained wherever feasible along the entire edge of the river, and also the quality of water in River Yamuna and other water sources will be improved.
The draft plan accentuates the need to increase the city’s preparedness to deal with pollution, for which it proposes a blue-green policy that integrates drains (blues) with the green areas around it. There is a provision to undertake strict norms to undertake Special Green Economic uses that will have low floor-area ratio and large green areas. Delhi is a cultural capital having many heritage sites, hence there is a need to preserve these heritage assets in order to prevent their degradation. Delhi falling in seismic zone four is vulnerable to earthquakes, fire outbreaks and flooding.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn into focus the need to create self-contained and mixed-use areas with decentralized infrastructure. Being an economic hub, Delhi needs to promote sectors such as health, higher education, tourism and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, modern logistics and trade. It also needs to promote cleaner production, startups, innovation and cyber economies by providing a variety of flexible and shared spaces to entrepreneurs in addition to opportunities and good working conditions.
While the Master Plan of 2021 acknowledged the need to bring in the private sector to aid in the development process and introduced several new principles, the draft master plan of 2041 seeks to take forward the innovative paradigms and introduces relevant policies to nurture the future growth of the city. While the Master Plan of 2041 looks perfect on paper, it may face challenges when implemented on the ground. The possible challenges faced are confrontation from political wings, shortage of resources and funds, corruption in different departments, lack of political and bureaucratic determination and multiplicity of agencies. However, with the cooperation of the government and strict regulations, the plan can be a success.
This article has been written by Sharon John for The Paradigm
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