A year ago, Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath had proposed vertical expansion of the city. About a month back, the idea was supported by Delhi’s Urban Development Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely. On Friday, however, chief minister Sheila Dikshit said that as long as she is alive, she will not allow vertical growth.
Calling the Uttarakhand tragedy a man-made disaster, Dikshit said that to avoid a similar situation in Delhi, the city should neither have vertical expansion nor should the slums be allowed to flourish.
While addressing an event organised by Assocham on the theme, Delhi: kal, aaj aur kal (Delhi: yesterday, today and tomorrow), Dikshit argued that it will put an additional stress on existing resources and infrastructure of the city, besides severely impacting the ecology. “I agree with you that eventually perhaps Delhi will need high-rise buildings. But it will not be allowed as long as I am alive,” she said.
Dikshit also blamed the neighbouring states for the not supporting the NCR’s growth. “We don’t want slums and jhuggi jhopri clusters in Delhi. But it is because of the unplanned growth in the National Capital Region that Delhi has become the epicenter for all the migrants,” she said. “Politicians like me and others have been greedy and thought of these colonies as vote banks, but it is time to think about Delhi,” Dikshit added.
Interestingly, ahead of the forthcoming Assembly elections, the Dikshit government had regularised the unauthorised colonies of Delhi a few months back. To discourage illegal settlements in the Capital, the government is mulling over setting up holding areas for thousands of migrants who come to the city every year in search of livelihood. Dikshit said. “We are thinking of getting holding areas for people who come here in search of work to get rid of jhuggis (shanties) and illegal settlements.”