Jagmohan's blueprint - nothing to do with the Master Plan
Gita Dewan Verma / 21.02.03
Yesterday (20.02.03) a news report said Delhi Metro's 'swanky' police
station will be in a building that I say is illegally built (comment at
http://www.architexturez.net/+/e/000106.shtml). Another said CM has
launched some workers' housing in Bawana / Narela, whose people I say have
been betrayed by all ever since former union development minister Jagmohan
forcibly shifted them there
(http://www.architexturez.net/+/e/000131.shtml). And today a news report
says tourism and culture minister Jagmohan, addressing the Delhi Police
Week celebrations yesterday, said that his 'overall attempt did not
succeed but the experiment was worthwhile'. Already on 03.02.03, Jagmohan
reacted in a public lecture to his successor's regularisation
announcements made earlier in the day by saying 'his' blueprint for Delhi
had been killed. On 15.02.03 he reportedly said in an exclusive interview
that he would be meeting the PM to discuss the 'killing of his blueprint'.
On 16.02.03, addressing a gathering of architects, Jagmohan called for a
new vision for city planning.
Risen like Phoenix on plannerly turf Jagmohan seems preparing to make,
like he did effectively in 2000, his colleagues across party lines look
like populist petty politicians and himself as the only supporter of
planned development. The latter is not true. Planned development is not a
phrase open to willful interpretation, but legally defined as development
according to the Master Plan, with which Jagmohan's 'blueprint' has
nothing to do. His blueprint has forced thousands of families into
sub-standard development with no livelihood and driven the city's
industries to devastating uncertainty, while leaving 5000 hectares all
over the city provided for them in the Master Plan unaccounted for and
open to unplanned up-market development in breach of carrying capacity.
Such scenarios are not even remotely contemplated by planned development.
Indeed Jagmohan seems to think of planned development as an activity in
the nature of municipal sweeping in the city rather than in pursuit of
equitable and sustainable improvements in the lives of its citizens. In
his public lecture on 03.02.03 he ascribed to 'his blueprint' the
objective of helping Delhi 'emerge as a neat, clean orderly and organised
city'. This is necessary but not sufficient attribute of planned
development and not an end in itself. But Jagmohan's pseudo-plannerly
perspective is city-centric, not citizen-centric. Citizens, in his scheme
of things, fall in two categories. Those that make the city dirty and
those (others) that 'suffer' as a result. Such simplistic views are not
permitted to planners. They are perhaps also unconstitutional, as it is
the responsibility of the democratic state to secure for all its citizens
equitable benefits of sustainable development, which is what the Master
Plan is meant to be an instrument for. And they can get subversive when
culprits and victims are distinguished arbitrarily by opinionated
With objectives unrelated to those of sensible planned development,
Jagmohan's strategies for executing 'with speed, precision and firmness'
his blueprint also, naturally, bear no relation to it. 'I had attempted
strict enforcement of municipal by-laws, zoning and planning regulations,'
he says, and 'I had also advocated action to secure closure of illegal and
polluting industries and the removal of slums and squatters from
unhygienic and diseased-ridden sites and resettlement of the inhabitants
in planned and well-organised colonies with basic civic amenities.'
Jagmohan's claims about the resettlement are belied by ground realities
and his resettlement blueprint is also illegal in terms of statutory Plan
provisions for plot sizes, densities, locations, etc. As for enforcement
of planning regulations and action against illegal development, these are
not two separate strategies. The former is the means for the latter and
subservient to the purpose of development according to Plan, meaning that
the state is not empowered to enforce planning regulations to clear land
for unplanned development. I am prepared to bet that, with necessary
information, I can prove that what happened on the sites that were cleared
under Jagmohan's blueprint is more contrary to the Master Plan than what
Jagmohan claims that as a result of his 'worthwhile experiment' with 'his
blueprint', 'Urban politics, too, was put on a healthy trajectory'. I
protest. All his autocratic approach achieved was that everyone in any
position of power now feels free to make their own blueprint in disregard
of the statutory blueprint for Delhi's development and citizens'
entitlements thereunder. 'How will the Masterplan be relevant in the
Capital at all if it is continuously being flouted,' Jagmohan now asks,
having himself triggered the indiscipline that is anathema to the only
trajectory that can be considered healthy in a democracy - that of
equitable and sustainable development, which simply has to be sensibly
planned and rigorously implemented to safeguard against competing and
vested interests in constrained resources.
Jagmohan's frequent references to industries being dirty and polluting,
slum dwellers being dirty and disease-ridden, hawkersbeing dirty and
encroachers, like stray cattle, etc, strip citizens of citizenship. I can
say from personal experience that Jagmohan, for all his posturing as
saviour of the Master Plan, does not care about the Plan or citizens' Plan
entitlements. In 2001, when he was drawing flack for 'anti-people support
of the Master Plan', my clients amongst slum dwellers and hawkers were
continually and unsuccessfully soliciting his support for their efforts to
seek Plan implementation. Had he responded he would have acted in line
with his mandate, silenced his rivals by underscoring how Plan
implementation would benefit 20 lakh slum residents, 4 lakh hawkers, 1
lakh industrial units, etc, and restored public confidence in the Plan and
a modicum of discipline in wayward city politics. He chose, however, to
pursue 'his' blueprint for development and trajectory for politics.
Amidst a dizzying spell of regularisation moves, many will fall on the
rebound for Jagmohan's pitch, but from my plannerly vantage he looks
really no different from the rest of his undisciplined colleagues across
party lines. I would rather buy the conspiracy theory and posit that
regularisation moves - invariably sound and fury - are devised to provide
space for Jagmohan-type cleansing operations from prime locations.
Separately and together both relate to the Master Plan only in terms of
I am glad Jagmohan is neither urban development minister nor Delhi BJP
chief and so has no authority to substantially obfuscate the discourse.
What bothers me is that he is obviously seeking speaking opportunities to
air his pseudo-plannerly views and that the media, obviously trying to
cook up controversies, is amplifying them. This bothers me because
Jagmohan marginalises planners, including by confusing architects for
planners, more than any one else ('I will pull stops to save the city in
my own way when the time comes', he says) and his defence of the Plan is
far more subversive than the offensives. Others might consider his
spoilers useful in the context of antics of his colleagues, but I think
they serve only to divert attention from the Master Plan and the key issue
of accountability about its implementation, a diversion unaffordable in
the end-game of the ongoing Delhi Master Plan revision.
Against the broader backdrop of the statehood (non)debate in Delhi having
reduced to a matter of control over its land and police, Jagmohan holding
forth to Delhi Police celebrating a Week inclusive of decision to
inaugurate a swanky station for swanky Delhi metro in an illegal swanky
riverfront building is most telling. In the midst of writing this someone
called to tell me that women from riverfront slums were being picked in
the last 2-3 days by Delhi Police on pretext of investigations about
Bangladeshi immigrants, and the Delhi-Police-officer-NGO organising the
community in the area had declined to straighten out Delhi Police. I plan
to shortly write more about Delhi Police in the context of Delhi land, use
of which is governed by its Master Plan, because in my plannerly
kaleidoscope in the end-game of the Plan revision control over police and
land, Jagmohan-style blueprints, World Bank vision that our CM is
advocating and more of suchlike are morphing into a nightmare far worse
than the one we are in.
NEWS REPORTS OF JAGMOHAN'S BLUEPRINT, ETC
Express Newsline, 21.02.03
'Concessions for wrongs won't win polls but ruin city'
New Delhi, February 20: UNION Minister for Tourism and Culture, Jagmohan
today lashed out at agencies and individuals "following wrong policies in
what can be best explained as a bid to win elections".
Speaking at the Delhi Police Week celebrations at Vigyan Bhavan this
evening, the Minister minced no words in criticising the proposed
regularisation of unauthorised colonies and the inclusion of polluting
He chose not to name people but maintained that his views were entirely
his own "and do not convey the Central government's sentiments on the
issue". Though he refused to comment, Jagmohan's remarks today went
seriously against the policies being advocated by Urban Development
Minister, Ananth Kumar.
He chose to speak on governance and a vision for Delhi in 2010 and pointed
out that these kinds of policies not only disregard rules and laws but
also go on to ruin the city. "If you think you can win the elections with
these kinds of concessions then you are wrong. For if people will vote you
to power for allowing them to do certain things, then the same people will
pull you down for bad health services that the city will face as a
consequence," the Minister said.
While illustrating various problems that the Capital faces, Jagmohan
added: "By 2021, Delhi is expected to have 30 million people. We have the
dubious distinction of being the fourth worst polluted city in the world.
Yet we have pledged to regularise industries and unauthorised colonies in
Stressing that he is "emotionally attached to the city", Jagmohan said:
"You can't build a nation with negative forces. We have to keep the core
issues and problems in mind and try solve them."
He further said that the concept of the National Capital Region is dead
investment now. "Delhi is still as congested and this congestion will grow
in the future. Even court orders have no meaning now as someone somewhere
will create hullah and all policies will go for a toss. There is a huge
gap in what we say and what we do."
Jagmohan said his overall attempt did not succeed but the experiment was
The Hindu, 17.02.03
Jagmohan calls for new vision
By Our Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI FEB. 16. Concerned over the rot that has set in the country in
almost all spheres of public life, the Union Minister for Tourism and
Culture, Jagmohan, today gave a call to formulate a "new vision" for
Addressing a gathering of architects at a function here, Mr. Jagmohan said
the country today required a great planner and architect who can reshape
the "Indian consciousness", create a new mindscape and build an altogether
new edifice on the foundational plank of justice, equity and other
Reminding the audience of the great tradition and culture which he said
lay hidden underneath the dust and dross of the period of nation's decay
and degeneration, Mr. Jagmohan said it was time we paid attention to
removing this and locate the healthy foundation slabs of our tradition and
build a new edifice of the State with recaptured-creativity and reawakened
power of mind. "It is a great design for life and a great life-style for
the nation which needs to be evolved first," he said.
However, given the degeneration of the country during the last five
decades, Mr. Jagmohan said: "This undoubtedly is a tall order. But someone
has to take up the challenge. After all, even the longest journey starts
with a small step."
On India's progress after Independence, he said: "The barrenness is too
stark to be missed even by a casual observer. It does not have many
creative and constructive works to its credit. The period of 53 years
India has seen infrastructural shortages, lopsided development, dithering
administration, environmental degradation, deterioration in quality of
life and further erosion of ethical values," he rued, adding "quite a few
more rotten eggs have been added to India's baggage and the country has
been pushed more towards superficiality and shallowness."
This downslide, he said, cannot be arrested unless there is
"re-fertilisation" of the Indian mind and "re- greening" its inner
meadows. "It is only from such recharged minds and meadows that new
visions and vistas would crop up and India would rediscover its long lost
creativity and its destiny," he said.
"Social and economic differentiation in-built in our system due to decay
and decadence of once great civilisation is responding to and is in unison
with consumerism and the technology of the West," he said.
As the political, social and economic elites of the country are adopting
the same value-systems that form part of the Western exploitative system,
India's cities and villages are caught between two societies, two
economies and two cultures. "At a higher level, cities suffer from the
extravagance of European urbanisation and our villages from the hangover
of the feudal era. At the lower level, both suffer from poverty and
deprivation," he observed.
Urging architects not to be part and parcel of this lawlessness, he said:
"An oasis of few imposing buildings in a vast and ever-increasing
wasteland of slums without even basic human needs of water, sanitation and
clean air, would be monuments not of great planning and architectural
vision but of an inexcusable artificiality."
Express Newsline, 15.02.03
Save Delhi, Jagmohan to tell PM
New Delhi, February 14: Union Tourism and Culture Minister Jagmohan today
said that he will meet Prime Minister Vajpayee to discuss the "killing of
his blueprint for Delhi".
Jagmohan has taken a tough stand against the Union Urban Development
Ministry and Delhi BJP chief Madan Lal Khurana's proposal to regularise
illegal colonies and industries in the Capital.
These new policies will turn "the city into a slum. There is no logic in
them. They don't realise that they are ruining Delhi in this manner," he
said in an exclusive interview to Newsline.
Jagmohan said it was high time that "the Lieutenant Governor and the Delhi
Development Authority should put their foot down".
Jagmohan, who was the Union Urban Development Minister before Ananth
Kumar, is particularly perturbed over the regularisation of industries.
"We already have high pollution. If industries are incorporated into the
current set-up, there will be utter chaos. The city will be dirty and
residents will be affected by all sorts of diseases."
The Minister said: "What these people don't realise is that even if a
single industry stands in a residential area, it will ruin the entire
stretch. Newspapers write about these issues, some people come ahead and
talk for a day or two but after that no one is bothered."
"How will the Masterplan be relevant in the Capital at all if it is
continuously being flouted. Those who ravish the city and imperil its
future get away with illegal gains and law-abiding citizens have to face
the consequences," Jagmohan said.
Jagmohan, however, feels there is hope. "Let us not write off the future
of Delhi this soon. I will pull stops to save the city in my own way when
the time comes."
Express Newsline, 04.02.03
'My blueprint for Delhi killed'
New Delhi, February 3: ON a day when Union Minister for Urban Development
and Poverty Alleviation Ananth Kumar and Delhi BJP Delhi chief Madan Lal
Khurana joined hands to declare the regularisation of industries in 24
residential areas, Kumar's predecessor Jagmohan called it the killing of
his 'blue-print' for the city.
Blaming "urban poiltics" for the changes in the policies adopted by the
Urban Development Ministry, Jagmohan said he had prepared a blue print for
the city that would have helped it "emerge as a neat, clean orderly and
"I had attempted strict enforcement of municipal by-laws, zoning and
planning regulations, a sustained drive against encroachments and action
against illegal and land and building mafia," Jagmohan said.
He further added: "I had also advocated action to secure closure of
illegal and polluting industries and the removal of slums and squatters
from unhygienic and diseased-ridden sites and resettlement of the
inhabitants in planned and well-organised colonies with basic civic
"The entire blue-print was executed with speed, precision and firmness.
Soon, spectacular results were seen. Urban politics, too, was put on a
healthy trajectory. But all this could not last long," Jagmohan lamented.
"My attempt, overall, did not succeed. In fact, it could not," he said. He
further asked: "The aperture of our mind's eye has become so narrow that
we are not even seeing the contradictions in what we are doing. Does it
make sense to become part of a highly competitive globalised economy and
simultaneously create conditions which cripple productivity?"
He added: "Is it rational to spend huge amounts on metalling roads and
then allowing a good portion to be occupied by stray cattle and
encroachers? The central issue is not of doings or misdoings of
individuals or political parties but of the base from which their