DELHI: The draft Master Plan 2021 for Delhi, now under preparation, has been criticized by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), which has been assigned the task of doing a peer review by the urban development ministry.
In its mid-term review – that’s now being drafted – the institute has mentioned several major differences of opinion on issues like parking, transit-oriented development (TOD), mixed land use in residential areas and the farmhouse policy.
Of the several policies in the master plan, TOD is one that hasn’t gone down well with NIUA. According to the institute, the master plan talks about development along the lines of mass transport, in the form of a 500m ‘zone of influence’ around transport hubs. However, it hasn’t put a working layout plan in place. According to sources, the experts on the panel have pointed out that the MPD talks about TOD without mentioning how exactly development is expected to take place. “Development cannot be arbitrary. Without a proper integrated layout plan, the TOD can’t work. “For example, Metro corridors run through some heavily congested areas. How can a 500-metre ‘zone of influence’ on either side of a Metro station be established without congesting the areas further,” one of the experts has asked.
NIUA has also observed that the draft MPD does not have any guidelines for street parking and that there are discrepancies in the parking norms in context of increased floor area ratio (FAR). While MPD 2021 provides for an increase in inverse proportion to plot size, the group of experts has recommended that it should be the other way round and larger plot sizes should have higher FAR with reduced ground coverage.
“We think that same FAR regulations should be applied everywhere to avoid chaos and a detailed impact study should be conducted into the matter soon,” said an expert. As part of their recommendations on parking, the institute has said that parking on public roads “should be strictly avoided” and the gap between norms and their enforcement should be bridged soon.
The institute has also slammed unregulated growth of commercial activities in residential areas and pressed for a “systematic identification”, asking for a detailed urban feasibility study on regulating this at the earliest. In this context, it has mentioned Lajpat Nagar’s expansion from a purely residential area, mentioned as such in 1962 and 1982, which has witnessed growth of commercial activities in “an unplanned manner and therefore lacks several basic amenities”.
The approval given to commercial activities in farmhouses has been disapproved by the experts. They feel no commercial activity should have been allowed in farmhouses, and if such activities are allowed, the policy should be extended to all farmhouses.
In their recommendation to the UD ministry, the group has also said that no development should be allowed in the green belts of the city.