Ranchi Master Plan 2037, which envisages a cleaner and greener capital backed by state-of-the-art infrastructure, has invited flak from intellectuals.
Jayant Jaipal Singh and former IAS officer Binod Kispotta are of the opinion that new plan will increase the number of slums, create food and drinking water crises and inflict irreversible environmental damage.
In a written objection to Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) submitted earlier this month, Singh and Kispotta pointed out that the civic body’s proposal to include 118 villages under its purview would only increase the number of slums from 60 to over 200 in the next 25 years.
According to them, the city grew from 39.86sqkm in 1961 to 175.12sqkm in 2011 by bringing in neighbouring villages within the fold of RMC.
“These villages continue to be deprived of basic facilities like safe drinking water, proper roads and drainage systems till these were officially declared slums by the RMC. Given the poor track record of the civic body, the master plan, which again proposes to increase the purview of RMC from the present 175.12sqkm to 652.20sqkm, will also spell damage,” said the duo.
Singh added that since Ranchi is included in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act suggests that change in the land use pattern would need specific consent of the gram sabhas. “Inclusion of additional 118 surrounding villages is an arbitrary decision of RMC,” he said.
The two further pointed out that the plan would inflict permanent environmental damage and cause rapid depletion of ground water sources because the master plan also proposes to divert about 771.81 hectares of existing water bodies and 43.93 hectares of hillock lands for industrial, commercial and residential purposes. “To make matters worse, the plan also intends to use 17,836 hectares of existing green cover for other purposes,” added Kispotta.
The intellectuals also questioned the civic body’s method of drafting the plan.
“The master plan was uploaded on the RMC website in phases. First, the English version was put up last year. But, it had serious historical and geographical flaws and was later withdrawn. The Hindi version was not available till January 4 this year with many annexures missing. We are still not sure which draft is the final one,” Singh added.
On top of it, RMC had fixed January 15 as the last date to filed objections. “This is undemocratic. According to existing practice, 90 days should been given to public to file their suggestions/objections,” Singh pointed out.