The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 28 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blueprint blues for chaos city

- Capital master plan agency seeks extra time

Missing deadlines is second nature with Jharkhand. And the latest victim of delay is a new master plan for Ranchi.

The paper project aiming to streamline the capital’s haphazard growth in the long run has been paused for a minimum of four months because the agency entrusted to prepare the draft has requested additional time to complete the job.

In May this year, the state government had appointed Feedback Ventures Limited (FVL) to draw up a plan to ensure an orderly appearance of the hitherto unplanned city in the future. It set a six-month deadline for tabling the plan. However, the agency has now written to Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), which signed the contract and is overseeing progress of the plan, seeking an extension till March 31, 2013.

RMC’s chief executive officer Dipankar Panda confirmed that they had received the letter. “The agency wrote to us a week ago, expressing its inability to meet the deadline. It has sought time,” he said, adding that the civic body was still in the dark about reasons behind the sudden request.

Panda further said that they were under the impression that the plan would be tabled by the end of this month until they received the letter. “We are planning to summon FVL officials early next month (December) to ascertain reasons for the delay. We need to know why they need extra time,” he added.

P.N. Bhargava, a senior official of FVL, claimed the extension was needed to fine-tune the draft. “We have drafted the plan, but do not want to leave any holes unplugged before tabling it. Besides, relevant data, maps, et al, were not provided to us on time. So, we have sought extra time,” he said.

Bhargava also cited festivities and their hangover for the delay. “There were holidays during Dussehra, Diwali and Chhath among others. These are times when you can’t grudge people leave. These are collective reasons behind seeking time to proof-read our plan,” he added.

Insiders said the RMC had no other option, but to grant the firm more time. Though he didn’t confirm an extension, Panda too hinted that if the agency’s needs were justified, giving more time would not be an issue. “All we need is the job done to our satisfaction. We do not want a shoddy, copy-paste plan,” he reasoned.

Ever since Ranchi became a capital city in 2000 after Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar, it saw an exponential rise in population and haphazard development. The existing master plan, prepared way back in 1983, was barely adopted by successive state government, which led to unplanned growth across the length and breadth of the city.

The Arjun Munda government announced a new master plan in January 2012 with the year 2037 as the deadline for revamp. The aim was to build planned infrastructure for sustainable development.

The new Ranchi master plan will advise the government on how to develop the city over the next two-three decades. It will shed light on multifarious growth in terms of population, buildings, malls and moveable and immoveable infrastructure. For instance, what should be the strength of a road so that it can withstand increasing vehicle load or how much open space should be made, et al.

So, will the delay to prepare a master plan affect the government’s endeavour?

“Not to a great extent. Every new thing takes time to shape up. But, we want to make one thing clear: if an extension is given to the agency, it will be the final one. If it fails to meet the second deadline, action will be initiated as deemed fit,” Panda said.

Should the agency be allowed more time for the master plan?