The Telegraph
Saturday , January 4 , 2014
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30-year wait for master plan nears end

The city is set to get its much-awaited master plan, a vision document for its future development, by mid-January after a wait of more than three decades.

Sources said the proposed master plan envisages the development of the state capital into a bigger metropolitan to be spread over Patna and parts of adjoining Saran and Vaishali districts.

The plan documents, like the proposed building byelaws, would be put on public domain to invite residents’ feedback before final implementation. “Master plan is a tool to plan and regulate urban growth in and around a city over a given period of time. The draft document for the proposed master plan for Patna has been finalised. The department intends to put these documents for public feedback by mid-January. Residents would give their response on the plan documents over the next three to four weeks,” said a senior official of the urban development and housing department.

The last master plan for Patna (1961-1981) had expired 32 years ago and since then, there were no guidelines to regulate urban growth. According to sources, the department, in February 2011 entrusted the task of undertaking survey and providing technical assistance for the preparation of the draft master plan for Patna to the Center for Environment Planning and Technology University, Ahmedabad.

The master plan divides the proposed Patna Metropolitan Region into residential, commercial, mixed land use, industrial, public- semi public uses, urban agriculture zones and no development zones. It also provides for making roads in Patna of different widths — 60m, 45m, 30m and 24m.

Another innovative concept in the proposed master plan is of urbanised villages, which are required for providing urban agricultural buffer zones around the projected Patna Municipal Corporation area. These villages have low density of residential area with major agriculture use. Much of the provisions would be implemented with the support of the Bihar Municipal Building Byelaws & Building Code, which aim at regulating building construction and development activities in terms of land use, coverage (land used for construction), floor area ratio, open space, height, number of storeys and parking standards.

During recent interactions with the builders’ body, issues were raised that the building byelaws cannot be implemented without a master plan. “S. Siddharth, secretary, urban development and housing, had assured us that the master plan would also come in public domain by January 15. He had said both policy documents would be implemented simultaneously,” said Manikant, national vice president, Builders’ Association of India.