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Wednesday, May 30, 2001

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Uncertain future for Master Plan

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, MAY 29. Delhiites and planners are likely to be left in the lurch with regard to the future development of the Capital as uncertainty looms large over the fate of the Delhi Master Plan 2021. By current indications in all likelihood it will not see the light of the day for at least two years.

Given the slow pace of progress of work and the changing priorities of administrators and planners, it is likely that a two-year zero period in planning is expected in Delhi. Interestingly, top Government officials, including the Delhi Lt- Governor, Mr. Vijai Kapoor, have made repeated assertions that the MPD-2021 would be in place by August-September this year.

``We have a long way to go before the new Master Plan can be adopted,'' said a senior official of Delhi Development Authority, adding: ``It will be nothing short of a miracle if it comes through by the next year.''

According to senior DDA officials engaged in preparation of the Master Plan, nearly a dozen special working groups are still busy preparing the report. ``In many cases, the elected representatives and experts are still being included in these groups and some have only recently been set up,'' they said. The working groups include these on demography, land use plan, infrastructure, industry and transportation. It is only recently that DDA shifted its entire Master Plan unit to Vasant Kunj area in South Delhi to expedite the work.

Insiders said it will take another six months before these reports could be finalised. Though draft reports in most cases are ready, many need to be updated in the context of the latest census, the details of which are yet to come in. Once the drafts are ready concerned departments and ministries would be asked to comment on them before the final report is prepared.

This report which would be put to scrutiny by a high-level Steering Committee, most likely to be headed by Mr. Kapoor, and a Technical Secretariat. ``It will take at least a year for the Committee and Secretariat to complete their job, and both are yet to be set up,'' sources said.

Before formally adopting the Master Plan, its draft would be made public so as to invite suggestions and objections and also response from elected representatives.

It is understood the Union Urban Development Ministry has decided to constitute separate special committees at its own level for the Master Plan. The objective is to coordinate the efforts of the National Capital Region Plan-2021 and MPD-2021 to ensure there was no conflict between the two. ``They will also take about a year to submit their report,'' sources said.

``All this is going to take time. Unless we decide to go in for a hurried and unscientific approach, the Master Plan cannot be completed before 2003,'' they said.

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