Officials at the meeting in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
The first draft of the new master plan for Ranchi, which had been on the drawing board for about a year, did not find favour with district officials and stakeholders at a consultation meeting on Wednesday, with almost all of them pointing to several grey areas.
Many dubbed the plan, prepared by government-appointed consultant Feedback Infrastructure Services Pvt Ltd, as a paper tiger lacking enough viability to be implemented at the ground level. The last plan was prepared in the 1980s.
Feedback Infrastructure unveiled the first draft at a presentation attended by Ranchi deputy commissioner, officials of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), state urban development department and stakeholders like builders and representatives of construction firms.
The session kicked off with presentation of the “vision”, according to which Ranchi should become a kind of capital that can support physical, social and cultural aspirations of its residents by 2037.
Thereafter, the over-two-hour-long presentation went on to project that Ranchi’s (RMC area and allied villages) population is expected to double from 14 lakh from the current situation. The city has poor workforce distribution of around 20 per cent, which should be around 33-34 per cent. This apart, while the population increased, growth in real terms didn’t follow so far due to faulty policy decisions, lack of facilities et al.
In addition to the outer ring road, the plan proposed an inner ring road as well to ease traffic bottlenecks in core areas of the city. District and community centres were mooted on the lines of metro cities like Delhi where people can have access to everything — right from a needle to high-end products, including recreational activities.
Several other futuristic initiatives were mentioned. But what the plan primarily failed to address was local concerns and land use viability.
“We discussed these issues two months ago and it’s very disappointing to see that nothing has changed so far,” rued deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey.
“A plan has to be holistic and we can’t just borrow from other cities. For example, when we talk of inner ring road, do we have land for that? What is the cost of acquisition? Will the acquisition burn a hole in our pockets? A plan should speak these things but the draft didn’t address these issues,” he added.
Another prominent issue is that the draft completely ignored the CNT Act. Land acquisition remains the toughest hurdle for the state administration as proved by the Nagri bottleneck.
“The outer ring road has been under construction for the past decade. The inner ring road will take another decade or so. This way, the plan will never see the light of the day,” said a senior RMC official on condition of anonymity.
RMC deputy CEO Gopalji Tiwari pointed out that the plan did not take RRDA area into consideration. “This may create confusion in the future,” he said, adding that the idea of this meet was not to criticise the consultancy, but to help it chalk out a good roadmap. “I hope the lapses will be addressed at the next meeting,” he added.
Virendra Kumar, head of the urban planning department of Feedback Infrastructure, argued it was not the final plan and was still in the evolution stage. “As far as the CNT issue is concerned, the government has to provide us with data about which area comes under the act and which does not. We ran from pillar to post, but haven’t received the figures yet,” he said.
Another official of the company complained: “We are trying our best to come up with a plan, but the problem lies with the attitude of the officials. Unless they come on board and help us, it will be very difficult for us to work.”