Missing building blocks for holistic urban development
MOHALI: Holistic urban development is still a distant dream in Punjab though master plans for towns were made a decade ago.
Master plans prepared by the department of town and country planning neither propose sectoral planning nor incorporate zonal development plans that can provide for adequate social infrastructure, creating self-sufficient zones or sectors. Barring cities such as Ludhiana and Jalandhar, demarcation of zones are yet to be taken up in other towns. The result is disjointed development and poor implementation of master plans.
In Punjab, master plans for cities are made under the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act .“The master plan is on the city scale and covers major roads, while the zonal development plan gives a detailed shape.
The zonal plan is for a smaller area. It mentions the internal road network, green spaces and social infrastructure,” says Rajinder Sharma, a Punjab former chief town planner.
Master plan documents of cities such as Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bathinda demarcate different zones in the planned area. These documents stipulate zonal development plans. For instance, Patiala’s master plan says the proposed area within urban limits has been divided into 11 zones, the detail planning of which shall be carried out later. Any ambiguity shall be clarified in the zonal development plans.
The local planning area of Ludhiana is divided into zones that will be prepared to further regulate development and align sector roads. There are 54 planning zones outside municipal limits. The local planning area of Jalandhar has been divided into 73 zones so that for each zone a plan is prepared to link proposals of the master plan and the layout plan.
WHY HAVE ZONAL PLANS
“The master plan is a broader document. A zonal plan is needed for better implementation. It has details about the internal road network, social infrastructure and amenities on the basis of which development takes place,” says HS Bhogal, a former chief town planner of Punjab. For instance, while the master plan talks about ring roads of 200ft, the zonal plan defines and elaborates on sector roads of 60 ft to 80 ft and even smaller roads. “In the absence of zonal planning, urbanisation is becoming chaotic way with private builders exploiting the situ- ation,” says Bhogal.
“Allowing private players to define and design zonal plans may hamper proper urban development. Builders plan for smaller areas such as five to 10 acres at a time. A holistic approach to planning is missing,” says Sharma. “Builders get licences for small colonies and reserve the land based on the licences. Small pockets of infrastructure are created, defeating the purpose of self-sufficiency. There is no integration of infrastructure and amenities such as the sewage system, internal road network, drainage and drinking water systems,” says Bhogal.
Experts say zonal development plans should be prepared and the density of population in a particular zone frozen based on the number of acres in each zone. This will allow reservation based on social, socio-cultural and sports infrastructure.
“To bring uniformity in the zoning regulation and development controls across master plans, the department of housing and urban development has formulated zoning regulations and development controls of all master plans,” says Gurneet Tej, the chief administrator, Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority. Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Board on Thursday decided to make regulation applicable to the entire state except master plans of New Chandigarh and Mohali.
MASTER PLANS WITHOUT ZONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS IN PUNJAB LEADING TO INEFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION
An aerial view of Bathinda in Punjab.