DDA approving amendments to Master Plan 2021 is not enough. All civic agencies need to come on board and revise the layout plans of colonies taking into account details of the current population and their civic requirements
In an attempt to provide relief to traders and local shopkeepers from the sealing drive, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has approved amendments in Delhi's Master Plan 2021 for local shopping complexes. These will now be notified by the ministry of housing and urban affairs which will file an affidavit in the Supreme Court.
How will these amendments help? These may bring to a halt the sealing drive on local shopping complexes. Commercial premises of several traders have been sealed for failing to deposit conversion charges according to provisions in Master Plan 2021. The Supreme Court had last month issued a directive to the DDA to invite fresh feedback from the public over a period of 15 days on the amendments.
How will commercial areas in Delhi get impacted?
1. Liquor shops, pubs, discotheques and clubs cannot be opened on any floor of buildings falling in residential areas in the city.
The main concern of most resident welfare associations is to do with non-residents and unauthorised persons entering residential areas. With commercial establishments operating in residential areas, there is a huge stress on the existing infrastructure including physical, social and civic infrastructure. These changes are expected to put an end to unwanted brawls and parking issues. What this also means is that liquor vendors or clubs located on residential plots may now have to shift to notified commercial complexes.
2. The proposed amendment in the Master Plan 2021 for Delhi, includes bringing a uniform floor-area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residence plots and complexes at par with residential plots.
Use of upper floors for commercial activities has also been allowed. The upper floors can now be converted to commercial use after paying the applicable charges. This also means that they may now get more ground coverage and floors — from the earlier three storeys to four.
It is important to understand that these colonies, some of which that are almost five decades old, were planned keeping in mind infrastructure requirements then. Over time, each plot has been converted from one floor to four floors putting immense pressure on parking space, water and power usage etc. A plot that was initially designed for perhaps five to six residents per plot, now supports over 50 people working in commercial spaces that come have come up on the residential plot. Infrastructure therefore needs to be augmented.
3. Activities which are non-polluting, non-hazardous and not prohibited by law in residential areas shall be permitted post the amendments to Delhi’s Master Plan 2021.
4. DDA has also approved that "amount collected on account of various charges will be credited to a designated fund (escrow account) to be used exclusively for augmentation of infrastructure facilities and amenities (parking, public toilets, water supply) of capital nature".
For residential facilities designed five decades ago to service 200 people per hectare, now have to service around 2000 people per hectare. Infrastructure planned for 200 people needs to be augmented for 2000. This calls for redesigning the layout plans of the colonies taking into account current density of the area and providing for additional load of power, water, parking, roads etc. All this will require money. The amount collected on charges, as per the amendments to the Master Plan 2021, will have to be deposited in a designated escrow account to be invested for improving infrastructure for that particular colony.
5. In order to promote parking, the owner of the plot will be allowed to amalgamate the plots up to minimum plot size of 1,000 sqm, to provide additional parking on the amalgamated plot. These plots shall be entitled for a rebate of 50 percent in conversion charges. In case, there is no parking facility available in the vicinity, local body concerned may declare such areas as pedestrianised shopping streets or areas. Public transport authority shall ensure last-mile connectivity to these areas.
Amalgamation, in this case, refers to razing the structure and rebuilding it after providing for integrated facilities with augmented parking – basement or stilts and following disaster management norms. In the event of the building being redesigned to accommodate enhanced infrastructure facilities and services, the plot shall be entitled to a 50 percent rebate. Also, if a parking facility is designed away from the complex, it is mandatory for transport authorities to ensure last mile connectivity.
DDA approving amendments to Master Plan 2021 is not enough. It is not a means to an end. All civic agencies need to come on board and revise the layout plans of these colonies taking into account details of population and their requirements. These need to be prepared and approved by civic agencies and investments need to be set aside proportionately, says Ramesh Menon of Certes Realty, adding layout plans need to be revised before amalgamation is permitted and amenities/services are augmented.
Commercial establishments generally operate until late evenings disturbing peace and tranquility of the residential colony. Once shops, bars and other commercial establishments shift to designated commercial areas, residents will not be disturbed and pollution levels including noise, smoke and waste will also be controlled.
Dated: 20th June 2018