Delhi Development Plan Outdated: Kamal Nath
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Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath today slammed the development plan for the national capital, saying that "Delhi has the most outdated planning".

"Delhi has the most outdated development plans... That is one reason why enforcement is difficult here," Nath said.

"In Delhi, we have 1,600 unauthorised colonies; (India is) the only country in the world which has a terminology called regularised unauthorised colonies," he said.

Criticising the Delhi Master Plan, Nath said, "We have a Master Plan 2021 and it came in 2007. I have thousands of representations against it."

He was speaking at the launch of a book, Urbanisation in India, here.

The book, edited by Isher Judge Ahluwalia of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, Ravi Kanbur of Cornell University and PK Mohanty, Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, addresses critical issues related to urbanisation and puts forth suggestions for better planning and financing alternatives.

"Urbanisation is the great challenge facing India now," Nath said.

Development is always accompanied by urbanisation, Nath said, adding that the current share of urban populations was more than 80 per cent in developed countries.

Acknowledging the slow pace of urban infrastructure development in India, he said, "Urbanisation is the engine of growth and also poverty reduction. India is very late in urbanisation. Currently, there is an all-round urbanisation deficit.

"Huge infrastructure deficit means what we build in the next five or 10 years will not be for the future, but will be catching up with the past."

Meanwhile, taking a dig at the CAG without naming it, he said "We are looking for houses for economically weaker sections (EWS). But given land prices, how does one build houses for the EWS?

"Some audit, as we have examples, will say why did you build for the EWS... Suddenly some body pronouncing presumptuous losses and blaming it all on policies. So how you build for EWS on government land? This is a new challenge."

Emphasising the need for planned growth of suburban areas, Nath said, "Urbanisation also involves sub-urbanisation. (But) in India, we have sub-urbanisation by default, not by design.

"Gurgaon and Noida came up... Some by plan and some by default."

Stressing on long-term plans, he said, "We should have a long-term development plan for 30 years instead of for five or 10 years. Short term plans can also be part of long-term planning."

Calling for more projects on the Public-Private Partnership model for urbanisation, Nath said, "In the next phase of JNNURM, we are proposing PPPs in a bigger way. We need to have a basket of PPP projects as there is no one size PPP which fits all."

As to civic bodies, he said "Municipalities must be bankable to raise funds for themselves. Local self-government should have more role in planning cities and townships.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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