- Planning for Unplanned Mega-Events    click here to open paper content33 kb
by    Vohra, Rachna | rachnavohra@vsnl.net   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Inspite of Planning, New Delhi has grown more due to pulse effects and mega events. Since 1947 Delhi witnesses one of the largest immigration of [peoplein history
Delhi, the capital of India, is often referred to as India’s super metro. Covering an area of 1486 sq. km. as of today, the union territory of Delhi presents different layers of 3500 years of history and splendors of the remains of many empires and cities built, abandoned, plundered and renovated by succeeding waves of time scepter. Delhi has a history of nearly four centuries of planning since Shahjahan’s old Delhi (1638) through Lutyens’ New Delhi (1912) and master planned Delhi (1957 onwards). Inspite of planning, Delhi has grown more due to pulse effects and mega events largely caused by political upheavals. These include East India Company defeating the Mughals in 1803 and taking over Delhi, shifting of the capital of India from Calcutta to Delhi (1911), and partition and independence of the country (1947).

In 1947 Delhi witnessed one of the largest immigration of people in human history. Over a short span of two months Delhi’s population almost doubled itself from 7,00,000 to 12,00,000. This was one of the greatest pulse in the human history. To house the refugees new townships in the urban fringe of Delhi were planned in 1948 by the Delhi Improvement Trust for the Ministry of Relief. Through years of improvisation, adjustment and resettlement the refugees were moved into fourteen permanent rehabilitation colonies. Thus, a national emergency was met by donating large areas with negligible development. Various rudimentary services and community facilities were provided. Therefore, even new areas of settlement came up without any formal planning, given the emergency situation. Subsequently this lead to an era of comprehensive planning and Delhi became the first city in India to have a statutory master plan approved by parliament in 1962. This plan intended to correct the ills of haphazard settlement of the new colonies and tried to regulate them. The pulse events continued to intercept planned development, creation of Bangladesh and migrants from there, lopsided economic development migrants in the recent times from violence affected areas of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir continues. There has not been much effort to minimize socio-cultural and economic disruptions, and to provide for basic infrastructure, utilities and facilities. The planning of the city almost became reactive to the problems created by these pulses. There was no impact assessment of such pulse/ mega – events leading to uneven provisions and shortages of infrastructure services. The planning of the city never incorporated any provisions for future pulses- of any kind banking rather on preventing such pulses rather than preparing to deal with them.

The experience of Delhi provides important lessons for planners:

• The planned development has to live side by side with unplanned development, pulse effects and political decisions. The planning has to be flexible to accommodate such events. This needs provision of a factor of safety in critical areas of basic services (water supply, power) and transport infrastructure.

• The concepts of land use, development controls and building bye-laws should be more flexible and adaptable to cope up with major influxes.

• Employment generation and informal sector jobs should be a major component of planning.

• The financial and taxation policy should capture a part of mega investments and profits for city development.

• Physical planning should interface more closely with socio-cultural and political realities.
New Delhi
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