Nine months after the Centre initiated the process of giving ownership rights to four million residents of 1,731 unauthorised colonies in the national Capital, efforts are now being made to bring these colonies under the planning ambit.
The Master Plan of Delhi-2041, a vision document for the city’s development, will focus on development in all unauthorised colonies, said a DDA official.
The existing Master Plan of Delhi-2021, which was notified in February 2007 and will continue to be in effect till the new plan is notified, is silent on unauthorised colonies.
Officials of the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), which has been roped in by the DDA to prepare Delhi’s 2041 Master Plan, say that efforts will be made to provide essential services and social infrastructure in these soon to be authorised colonies.
Unauthorised colonies — that house nearly four million people — is an integral part of the city and can’t be ignored, urban planning experts believe. There is a need to prepare a clear strategy for its development or redevelopment.
Hitesh Vaidya, director NIUA, said, “The new master plan will focus on providing opportunities of regeneration in all typologies of development, especially unplanned residential areas, such as unauthorised colonies, where it is imperative to improve the residents’ quality of life.”
For this, the NIUA and the DDA will hold a meeting with resident welfare associations of these colonies on September 2 to discuss their concerns and identify issues which need to be addressed.
A senior DDA official said, “We are holding consultation with all stakeholders. This is to understand their problems faced by people in these localities, what they want and how those issues can be addressed better.”
Though the contours of the new master plan are yet to be finalised, Vaidya said, efforts will be made to create provision of social infrastructure in such illegal colonies. “We are looking at aspects such as provision of social infrastructure — like schools, parks etc — wherever possible. NIUA is supporting DDA with the public engagement strategy and we look forward to all stakeholders and residents using this platform to provide constructive suggestions towards the next master plan,” Vaidya said
The Centre had handed over ownership rights documents to 20 property owners under the Pradhan Mantri Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi Awas Adhikar Yojana (PM-UDAY) last year, days before the model code of conduct for the February 2020 Delhi assembly elections came into force.
Ownership rights to residents of unauthorised colonies was one of the main poll planks of the BJP in the assembly elections held earlier this year. The BJP had projected it as one of its main achievements in the campaign for the assembly elections. The issue became a major flashpoint between the BJP-led Centre and the ruling Aam Aadmi party (AAP) in Delhi.
The DDA, which is the nodal agency for implementation of PM-UDAY, recently resumed the process to give ownership rights.
With the DDA expediting the process to give ownership rights, urban planners stress on the need to bring these areas under development control norms. But the norms can’t be the same as the rest of the city as these colonies have come up illegally, in a haphazard manner, they say.
Urban planner Shamsher Singh, the former chief town planner of the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi, said that while ownership rights are being given to these people, they can’t get the building plans sanctioned as per the existing MPD-2021 norms. “In some of these unauthorised colonies, the lanes are not wide enough because of which the building plans can’t be sanctioned. They need a different set of development control norms,” Singh said.
While Singh admits that redevelopment or regeneration in these colonies is the way forward for creating social infrastructure, he said, “It is difficult to implement, as getting all stakeholders will be a challenge.”