‘Kolaveri’ is a must for Delhi Master plan 2021

Strange as it may sound, to invoke a Tamil slang word while referring to the serious business of Delhi master plans MPD 2021. It is relevant. Read on.

‘Kolaveri’ means Rage, Anger etc. and that is precisely the emotion, which should see the MPD 2021 through.

Aren’t we angry that something notified in Feb’ 2007 hasn’t still seen the light of the day, 6 years thereafter? Aren’t we happy about the crumbs thrown at us by the policy makers, both nominated & anointed?

Here are seven reasons we must be angry, practice ‘Kolaveri’ and aim it sharply at those who matter.

 SIX YEARS & STILL MULLING – Not that Rome was built in a day, NOR can the frequent rant of converting Delhi into a Shanghai be ignored. One thing’s for sure, Rome & Shanghai weren’t built through procrastination. Political will was the forbearing factor in the cities developing. Having notified the MPD 2021 in Feb’ 2007, the decision makers waited for 3 years (till Jun’ 2010) to notify the zonal plans. Both being notified, the next level of Local plans & development norms for licensing are awaited. Although the last 6 months have seen hectic progress on this front, it should be a hastily drawn paper exercise.

REGULARIZATION OF UNAUTHORIZED COLONIES – This seems to have become an accepted pattern of development, OR, mis-development. First ignore the illegal land grab, allow construction of colonies, and then regularize them for a pittance. However, with the pragmatic knowledge that there are more than 5 lakh people migrating into Delhi every year, can the policy makers afford to ignore unlocking of the new zones? Or are we angling for the creation of many more unauthorized colonies in Delhi. The jury is you !!!

 SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE – This seems to have NOT kept pace with the requirements, and that the planners have just about relied on retaining it as a statistic in the master plan. For e.g. the Master plans provisions for one Hospital bed per 1000 people of population. Has the number of beds in hospitals kept pace with the demographic growth? Likewise for schools, playgrounds, recreational spaces, etc. It is one thing to create provisions for social infra, and another to incentivize development, use & monetization of the assets & resources. So far, the MPD 2021 planners are silent about the same.

COURTS ARE NOT EXPERTS ON MASTER PLANNING – For some reason, many in the powers that be, whom I end up meeting for work, have an overt reliance on the courts to ratify / stamp their planning process. This is for two distinct reasons. (a) They are sure that the vested interests would move the courts to stall some of the professional decisions taken (2) The general perception that the court approval would ensure smooth sailing. However, what is discounted is the time wasted in procedures.

MULTIPLICITY OF AUTHORITY  – Delhi is not just the capital of the country, but also the nerve center of all politics. And it is but natural, that the same influence permeates all the decision-making bodies. There is DDA, MCD, Min. of UD, LGs office, Delhi government, DJB, UTTIPEC, Delhi metro, private Power companies, Investors, vested & well-meaning organizations & individuals etc.  This multiplicity of decision-making, instead of being the catalyst for better planning becomes the procrastinator. The fact that they are not reporting to the same political or administrative boss doesn’t help. Like Singapore & Shanghai, which thrived on the notional premise of “Limited Democracy”, Delhi too needs a unifying agency / Overbearing authority to align all interest towards the development of the city, with a long-term perspective.

 DON’T QUOTE THE WORLD FOR YOUR IGNORANCE – I have personally made an effort to attend most meeting / Public consultations wherein I could contribute my exposure of urbanization (without any vested interest), I must admit that those whom I have been trying to crack my head against, haven’t always proven to be inspirational. Some are there just for the designation and the age of service, not for the expertise vested with them. Many just quote from the rulebook to cover up for their ignorance. Istanbul, Tokyo, Chicago & such cities are quoted for the heck-sake, but their virtues neither imbibed, not practiced into MPD 2021.

THE GUILTY ARE THE MASTERS – The famous lines from the ghazal मेरा कातिल   ही मेरा मुंसिफ है, क्या मेरे हक में फैसला देगा “ are reminded to me, as I write this piece. In many instances, it is observed that those associated with the powers that be, have had a hand in the mushrooming unauthorized & haphazard development of Delhi. Even now, many of them, for vested interests, stall the development process. I don’t blame their lack of exposure, but surely am a critique of their intent.

Having expressed myself, I am most optimistic that MPD 2021 is the ‘Investment opportunity of this decade”, Pan India, and this should see billions of dollars being profitably invested into the development of Delhi into a ‘Truly Global Megapolis’.

 Time beckons, and actions need follow.

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