Draft Regional Plan-2041

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    • A five-member group, comprising a retired Indian Forest Service official, an urban planner and an environment analyst, among others, has offered objections to the Draft Regional Plan-2041.

    Key Highlights of the Regional Plan 2041

    • Area covered: The NCRPB covers entire Delhi, eight districts of Uttar Pradesh, 14 districts of Haryana and two districts of Rajasthan. Collectively it covers an area of about 55,083 square kilometers.
    • Aim: The priority areas for the Draft Regional Plan are:
      • Urban regeneration, 
      • Future ready infrastructure, 
      • Multi-modal transport and logistics, 
      • Industries and MSME, 
      • Economic corridor, 
      • Tourism, 
      • MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibitions) and leisure, 
      • Farm income and traditional economy, 
      • Skill development and employment, 
      • Smart and digital NCR and 
      • Ease of Doing Business.
    • Rapid urbanization: The Plan’s proposal of ToD (Transit Oriented Development) along major transport corridors, high FAR (Floor Area Ratio), TDR (Transferable Development Rights), vertical brownfield redevelopment, mixed land use in old parts of cities and smaller towns to promote tourism hubs, affordable rental housing are transformative in nature and will go a long way in meeting demands of rapid urbanization.
    • On NCR Delineation: consensus was arrived at that the geographical size of the region should be a contiguous circular region of 100 km radius from Rajghat (Delhi).
      • The decision to include or omit tehsils lying partly within this 100 km delineation shall be left to the respective state governments.

    Issues/ Challenges associated with the plan

    • Environmental hazards: the proposed plan would drastically reduce the forest cover, degrade wildlife habitat, increase air pollution and open the floodgates of indiscriminate real estate in the Aravallis.
    • Exclusion of the term: Strong opposition to exclusion of the terms “Aravalli” from the Natural Conservation Zone (NCZ).
      • The Aravallis were an integral part of the NCZ in the current Regional Plan-2021.
      • The term ‘Aravallis’ has been deleted from the Draft RP-2041, leaving them open to unlimited real estate construction.
    • Forest areas: Similarly, the phrase “forest areas” has been deleted from the NCZ also.
      • This will drastically reduce the forest cover that is eligible for NCZ zoning protection.
    • Natural Zone: It has also objected to the replacement of the term “Natural Conservation Zone” under RP-2021 with “Natural Zone” in the Draft.
    • Area under forest has declined: Though the area under forest has declined from 4.02 % as reported in RP-2021 to 3.27% as per Draft RP-2041, the protection for forest has been further diluted in the draft plan.
    • Construction: The RP-2021 limits construction in the NCZ both by purpose (regional recreational activities only) and extent (0.5%).
      • However in the Draft RP-2041 this zoning regulation has been deleted.
      • It would be crucial to clearly state in RP-2041 that the Mangar Bani and its 500 m is a No construction zone.

    Significance of the plan

    • Major initiatives: Urban regeneration, ease of living, slum free NCR, 24-hour Air ambulance, Swachh and Smart NCR are major initiatives of the Plan.
    • Multi modal connectivity: The Plan lays key focus on multi modal connectivity across NCR through air, road, rail and inland waterway connectivity.
    • Promoting electric mobility: The Plan’s proposal of promoting electric mobility infrastructure, emphasis on circular economy of water and air quality improvements will help environment conservation.
    • Dual piping and recycled water: Water is going to be a scarce resource and the Plan’s proposals of decentralized STPs with dual piping and recycled water will address the water scarcity.
    • Sustainable development: The regional plan says that the population in the NCR is expected to grow to around 7 crore by 2031 and to about 11 crore by 2041 so there is a need to make the region future-ready for sustainable development.

    Way Forward

    • Public comments: Arguing that the Draft RP-2041 was “incomplete” and “inconsistent” with the requirements of the NCRPB Act 1985, protesters demanded that it must be updated and resented for public comments.

    Source: TH