New Delhi: A world class metro, ample green spaces and 24 new flyovers in the next 2 years are some of the things that are being planned to make Delhi a world-class city before Commonwealth Games in 2010.
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The city government thinks that the games provide a good opportunity to kick start its 2021 master plan that has among other things utopian goal like housing for all. But some experts believe the goals of the master plan will be hard to meet. With vast problems of water wastage, power losses, and the highest crime rate out of 35 cities in India they say the targets could be too steep to be met in such a short time. Besides they say there is a lot of corruption in the administration and that will be a hurdle in making Delhi a world-class city.
In addition, different authorities control different things, which means a lot of time is spent on trying to get various bodies to come to a consensus on key issues. “The urban local bodies don’t have the wherewithal, they do not have the manpower or a single person in place, let alone the departments. They don’t have plans drawings and data”, says Sudhir Vohra, an architect and government advisor. So what’s the solution? Vijay Saluja, a former chief engineer for the New Delhi Municiple Corporation (NDMC), says the first step is to decide that things must improve. “You must set up your own example and be a role model. If the chief executives and ministers are not role models, the message will not go through”, he says. “One of the prime challenges is having the right people with the right attitude, skill and training in the three local authorities of Delhi which are the MCD (Municiple Corporation of Delhi), NDMC, and DDA (Delhi Development Authority).”
So what’s the future of Delhi? Vohra says big plans like the 24 new flyovers being built are more like band-aids, than a remedy for Delhi’s problems. They can take examples of the re-development that took place in parts of Europe. There are only 13 institutes of city planning in India, which means there aren’t enough trained people available to give Delhi its make-over. Nontheless the city has improved in some ways – CNG vehicles and the metro have cut pollution levels. But if much more isn’t done – a world-class city will simply remain a dream.