Ironical, as it may sound, but, the much maligned and criticised Delhi master plan MPD 2021 is getting global recognition; and all for the right reasons.

I am given to understand that there was this competition on urban planning in Madrid, Spain, where our very own DDA also had submitted the plans of the proposed Delhi master plan MPD 2021. The jury seemed to have debated on how the hell did these guys with all their politics and “lemming-ed atitude” still manage to win the coveted “2008 ISOCARP Award for Excellence for Master Plan for Delhi 2021”.

Unfortunately, here in India, a motley crew of experts debate on how Master plans are myriad tools for exploitation, and how we need to remain a country of snake charmers, and ratholes…. keep harping about (lip service only) about the Indira Gandhi purported “Garibi Hatao” andolan, rather than create avenues for improving the quality of life.

I am for one, not purporting or subscriing in the entirety the proposals of the Delhi master plan. Having researched it over the past few months, and having assisted investors take positions for profit under the Delhi master plan, I am aware of the many lacunaes and negatives, but, the spirit under which many of the planners have worked on it is not lost on anyone.

Now, coming back to the award. The proposal submitted by DDA is one amongst the six awardees selected from amongst the many nominees representing 17 different countries. Besides, our Delhi Deprivation authority (DDA – pun intended), one institution each from Belgium, Poland, China, Mexico and Netherland have been awarded the recognition.

Another consideration of this irony is that many of the awarded plans might see immediate development, and accolades showered in thier parent nations. While, we Delhiites, kangresis, Bhartiya Jhagda party (BJP), H-amar singh, Dalits, Rajputs, Religious leaders, world leaders, desi liquor vendors, black-marketeers, terror groups, people peeing on the streets, cows & equally ‘buffalo attitude jay-walkers’ and concenrned and non concerned would all debate on how master planning and development is anti nationalism, and against our ‘rich heritage’. Ultimately, the supreme court would delve and deliver some sane direction. So much so for all the hard-work of the master planners.

For the records, ISOCARP is the global association of professional planners, with in-depth understanding & experience. It was founded as early as 1965 with a vision to bring recognised and highly qualified planners, together, under the aegis of an international platform, for networking & sharing of the wealth of knowledge. A non governmental agency, it currently has members from over 70 countries. ISOCARP is recognised by the United Nations and the Council of Europe and with a consultative status with UNESCO.I personally have nothing to do with them, therefore, please feel free to check them out on isocarp(dot)org.

Award time again, friends. The subject of the study under the Delhi master plan submitted by DDA, as listed on the official website of the judges is:

“For the capacity to articulate a holistic planning at one of the most complex metropolitan areas of the world and facing key changes that are in common in many other megalopolises of the planet: from shelter to trade and commerce, from industry to environment, from conservation of built heritage to urban design and from development code to plan monitoring.”

I am given to understand that a special award ceremony would be hosted on the 8th of November’ 2008 on the World Planning day. Prior to that, top professionals from the award winning entries would also make a presentation in Dalian, sometimes in September’ 08.

Let us commend ourselves on the depth of the intellectual capital we have, in India, besides being the “BPO of the world”. Given the will and intent, we can account for social, economic and wellness initiatives which can be at par with the world.

Hear ye Politicos!!!!! Please hear the humble citizen clamouring to walk up the quality of life ladder, without many of you pretending to help us reach there. Minus your help, we might climb faster.

Kudos, town planners, who were part of the Delhi master plan MPD 2021.


  • wow. Great news.
    What finally happened on these awards. did delhi win it.wish you post some more news and pictures about it and also follow up news of the same.

  • Hi Ramesh. I find your blog very interesting and insightful.If what is written is true, then it is of immense shame on us. We are wasting so much of money and resources and allowing our politicians to hijack our development. As someone part of the realty industry, cant you guys do something about this. How is this that we can corroborate the facts highlighted by you and take this to the media. As a media professional, I would like to know more.
    Tarun S

  • Balwan Shokeen, a friend of RM

    I thought I must update some of the regular readers here that some of the elements of the Delhi master plan has actually started moving. There was this session of objection handling by the MPD officials which I could attend. This happened on the 26th and 28th of Aug’08. For a change, I observed that the officials there actually were committed to supply an answer in writing in response to every representation / objection that they had received.
    Also, it was a more professional handling with time lines being spoken of. (unlike government work where only god knows the completion dates)

  • COMMENTING about & on our information website
    Advocate Manish Kadyan say:

    well its a nice effort and it will take some time to get implemented as we are in a habbit of daily violations and infringements of building bye laws and other applicaqble laws. The main problem behind that scenerio is lack of awareness among the genral people of Delhi and the second thing is non co-operative behaviour of the officials just to heat up the pockets.
    According to me there should be any mean of expressing views on line on every plan od Delhi development so that we can activaly participate and time to keep on providing our suggestions because this planned development is being done for us only.

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