As plans get under way for redeveloping parts of Delhi that were designed by Edwin Lutyens, the Delhi Urban Arts Commission wants the “green character” of the area left untouched.

Apprehensive that an increase in the floor-area ratio in Lutyens’ Delhi will mean more high-rises and more trees felled, the Commission has written to Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna and the Delhi Development Authority to ensure that a reduced green cover is not the consequence of this redevelopment.

Citing the example of Kidwai Nagar (East) redevelopment where the Commission had to intervene to stop the felling of trees, DUAC chairperson Raj Rewal has written to the L-G and the DDA to protect the urban character of New Delhi, which is dominated by trees. “We only wish to keep the green character of Delhi; it is one of the few cities in the world designed using the concept of a garden city. We don’t wish for that to be obliterated at this stage,” he told The Hindu.

Not opposed to high-rises, Mr. Rewal said, the Commission wants the new development to be in sync with the existing design. “Ideally the high-rises should be camouflaged by trees. Also, high-rises should not come up in the city centres. They should be spread out evenly towards the peripheries,” he said.

Recently, the Commission had asked the Urban Development Ministry to reconsider the redevelopment of Kidwai Nagar (East) citing repetitive nature of 23 towers, and the number of trees that were being cut for creating more housing space.

The Commission wants more thought to be given to the proposal for increasing the FARs. Increasing the FARs indiscriminately will have “an adverse impact” on the urban design form of New Delhi, the Commission has said and cautioned that it will also encourage other stakeholders and private proponents to claim higher norms.

The Commission has expressed concern that East Kidwai Nagar’s redevelopment would not be in sync with the rest of Lutyens’ area. It has proposed that at least one-and-a-half km from the Lutyens’ Zone the height of buildings should be restricted to tree level. The Commission wants FARs in the New Delhi area to be restricted to 1.25-1.75.

Most of the Lutyens’ Zone has a floor area of 40-50, consisting mainly of government staff quarters.

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