Sunday, September 23, 2007

Master plans are failing to achieve results'

Master plans are failing to achieve results'
DH News Service, Bangalore:
The conference, 'Town Planning at Crossroads: Crisis in Urban Development and Governance', threw open debates on various aspects in town planning that have over the years impacted cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi.

The scope and limitations of urban masterplans were the key point of debate as a group of bureaucrats and NGOs gathered around on Saturday, as part of a conference on town planning.

The conference, ‘Town Planning at Crossroads: Crisis in Urban Development and Governance’, threw open debates on various aspects in town planning that have over the years impacted cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi.

Master plans

Environmental expert M C K Swamy, representing the Centre for Symbiosis of Technology, Environment and Management (STEM), called for regional, state-specific masterplans to help conserve natural resources in forest, coastal and agricultural areas.

“The present masterplans are failing to achieve the desired results because the plans are not factoring in the burgeoning population of the cities.

Further, the plans are more focused on housing and layouts and they sideline the infrastructure demands that development brings with it,” he said.

While chairing a session on rigidity among urban development agencies Subhash Chandra, Secretary, Urban Development Department, said cities were becoming “victims of their own success”.

He called for a shift from present town planning policies that bracket layouts as exclusively for housing and said creation of more Central Business Districts around the layouts was the way forward.

“The focus should be on retro-fitting the City and making it future-proof,” he said. Prof N S Ramaswamy, former director of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore said that there was an urgent need to revitalise the municipal corporations and their utility services.


Madhusudan, representing the Karnataka Kolegeri Nivasigala Samyuktha Sanghatane, said that masterplans were converting cities into business destinations in an undemocratic fashion.


The seminar was organised by STEM, Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation, Karnataka State Town Planning Board, Indian Institute of Public Administration (Karnataka) and Bangalore Development Authority.


Metropolitan Commissioner Subir Hari Singh on Saturday called for a policy that ensures compensation for property owners, whose land falls in areas marked by development authorities under green belt. He was speaking to reporters on the practicability of urban masterplans, on the sidelines of a seminar on town planning.

“Under the present system of masterplans, while someone who owns land in the green belt has to give it away, those who own land just out of the belt can go ahead and build commercial complexes. There should be a financial mechanism that makes sure that these land losers are compensated,” Singh said.

He also suggested the provision of Transferable Development Rights for the land losers. The Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority Chairman added that the Karnataka government was considering a proposal which earmarks 20 per cent of land in proposed layouts to workers from fringe service sectors, including housemaids and labourers.


Bangalore Development Authority is expected to submit the Detailed Project Report on the first phase of its proposed Peripheral Ring Road, by October 15.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, BDA Commissioner M K Shankaralinge Gowda said different government agencies were updated on the project during a presentation that was held on Friday.

Officials of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Indian Railways and the National Highways Authority of India attended the meeting, Gowda said.

The first phase of the mega project that covers a stretch of around 65 km involves acquisition of over 1,800 acres of land in the Bangalore North, East and Anekal taluks.

The Commissioner said BDA’s decision to earmark 20 per cent of land in its five proposed layouts for economically weaker sections of the society was in line with the National Housing Policy guidelines.

He added that land acquisition for the five layouts will be initiated after the Cabinet clearance for the layouts, expected to offer around 176,000 sites.


*Violation by government agencies

*No space for urban poor’s concerns

*Lack of infrastructure investment plan

*Lack of emphasis on urban transport systems

*Drafting that runs into 10-15 years


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