Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Widespread relief from sealing and demolitions

NEW DELHI: The much awaited new Master Plan for Delhi-2021 was notified by the Union Urban Development Ministry late on Wednesday night paving the way for planned development of the city while providing relief to those who had deviated from the rules in the past and were faced with sealing and demolition.

The Master Plan document had been signed by Union Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy on Tuesday and he had announced that the ongoing sealing drive in Delhi would not resume from Wednesday. Thereafter the document was signed by the Ministry officials on Wednesday and sent to the Government of India gazette marking its notification.

The new vision document envisages liberalised mixed land use norms allowing commercial activities in a number of residential colonies. Re-designating areas as `"commercial'', "residential'' and "mixed'', it legalises commercial activity on 2,183 roads notified by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and another 100 that had been notified by the Delhi Development Authority. Moreover, after it stands the scrutiny of courts, more roads would be added to this list as an exercise to identify them has already been undertaken by the MCD.

The plan document also paves the way for entry of big private builders into the Capital to solve its needs for housing and commercial spaces. As per the document, Delhi needs about 24 lakh dwelling units to meet the needs of its population of 2.3 crores by 2021.

Also, it would promote private participation in in-situ development of slums where, as in the Tehkhand model project, private builders would make houses for economically weaker sections as also the rich.

There is also a provision for redeveloping existing colonies after pulling down old structures so that new complexes with adequate parking are created.

The plan also relaxes the height and floor area ratio norms for almost all categories of residential premises as also institutional and commercial properties. It also allows use of basement for commercial and professional purposes in most parts of the Capital. The greatest beneficiaries would be doctors and nursing homes that have been allowed to function from even very small plots abutting narrow lanes.

As per the Master Plan, a green belt has also been left along Delhi's borders "extending from the boundary up to one peripheral revenue village boundary''.

While allowing several relaxations to the existing structures, the Master Plan also incorporates provision for making the builders more accountable and for curbing activities that pose a threat to the environment.

A number of suggestions made by the Delhi Government following a special session of the Assembly have also been incorporated into the plan.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday night expressed hope that this public document would provide relief to a large number of people from sealing and demolitions.

Legal Correspondent adds:

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court for a direction to defer the sealing drive along roads notified for commercial use under the September 7 and 15 notifications of 2006.

The MCD in an application said that all the roads which formed part of last year's notifications had been incorporated into the Master Plan as commercial, mixed land use and pedestrian shopping streets.

It also pointed out that on February 2 the Court had adjourned sealing matters to February 20 so that the pending issues could be examined in the light of MPD-2021.

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