New Delhi: In Uttar Pradesh, the Housing and Urban Planning Department is actively engaged in dynamic urban development initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable and inclusive growth. Despite being confronted with challenges such as infrastructural constraints and rapid urbanization, the department is dedicated to implementing innovative projects to enhance the urban landscape.
Balancing the need for strategic planning and accommodating a growing population, the department is committed to fostering resilient and inclusive urban spaces that prioritize sustainable development.In this regard Shivani Babbar, ObserveNow interacted with Nitin Ramesh Gokarn, IAS Additional Chief Secretary, Housing and Urban Planning Department, Government of Uttar Pradesh.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
What are the key urban development initiatives that your department is currently focusing on in Uttar Pradesh?
Major policy initiatives and reforms to promote planned urban development:
• Preparation of GIS-based master plans (59 cities) to make them more realistic and citizen-centric,
• Uttar Pradesh Township Policy, 2023 announced to promote the development of self-contained townships with modern civic amenities covering water, sewerage, waste management, power, education, and health facilities, parks and recreation centers, real estate, and commercial spaces,
• Simplified and investor-friendly Affordable Housing Policy to meet the housing demand of lower-middle and low-income groups of society,
• City Development Plans for 13 cities
• City Logistic Plans for 7 cities
• Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Policy • Transferable Development Rights (TDR) Policy • Expansion of MRTS and RRTS networks
• Online Building Plan Approval System/ Fast Track Approval (FASTPAS)
• Mukhyamantri Shahari Vistarikaran/Naye Shahar protsahan Yojna announced to facilitate land assembly for the development of new townships.
How is the department addressing the infrastructure challenges in rapidly growing urban areas, and what strategies are being implemented to ensure sustainable and inclusive development?
• The state government has undertaken major initiatives to improve urban and regional mobility for the development of inter/intra-city infrastructure like Metros, RRTS, and Expressways,
• Metros are operational in 5 towns namely Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, and Luck now, and are being implemented in Kanpur and Agra. Also, Metro/ Metro lite Rail projects are being planned in Prayagraj, Gorakhpur, Bareilly and Jhansi,
• As per the strategy of the NCR plan, Delhi Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS project is under implementation and it is expected to be completed by March 2025. Priority section from Sahibabad to Duhai is operational from October 2023.
• As per the prevailing and new township policies, all new towns shall be planned, designed, and developed as self-contained towns with integrated provisions for living working, and recreation supported with all physical and social infrastructures. 100 new townships are proposed to be developed in the coming 5 years.
What are the major challenges faced by the Housing and Urban Planning Department, and what strategies are being employed to overcome these challenges?
• Difficulties in the assembly of land for housing and infrastructure projects,
• Limited financial resources with Development Authorities to meet the capital investment needs for development of infrastructure.
• Problems in granting fast-track approvals through a single window system especially where inter-departmental NOCs are mandatory.
• Ensuring optimum use of scarce urban land.
• Complexities in planning climate-resilient cities.
• Building energy-efficient cities while using green energy.
• Planning of new town as new economic growth centers.
• Statutory provisions for regional planning to enable the development of new economic growth centers.
• Effective waste management system (zero waste).
• Conservation and recycling of water/Control of air and water pollution.
• Regional and urban mobility problems due to lack of affordable, safe, and reliable public transport systems.
• Promoting Land pooling and Town Planning Schemes for the assembly of land.
• Allocation of interest-free seed capital (repayable in 20 years) in the state budget under Mukhyamantri Shahari Vistarikaran/Naye Shahar protean Yojna to meet our land cost.
• Imposition of "Special Amenity Fee" and "Urban Use Charges" to meet out capital investment needs for the development of city-level infrastructure/ mega projects,
• Development of Masterplan roads and greens by using TDR policy.
• Legislation for Regional Planning.
• Mandatory provisions in building bye-laws for the development of zero waste and energy efficient townships.
• Promoting vertical and compact development with mixed-use planning to ensure optimum use of land especially along transit corridors by adopting TOD policy,
• Fast and Simplified Trust-based Plan Approval System (FASTPAS) being developed for granting building and other housing-related approvals.
What is your vision for the future of urban development in Uttar Pradesh, and how do you plan to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth?
• Future urban development in Uttar Pradesh will focus primarily on providing affordable housing to all sections of society especially the urban poor with a better quality of life.
• The government of Uttar Pradesh is determined to unlock the full potential of its cities/urban areas and enable them as engines of economic growth towards realizing the vision of boosting GSDP to $ 1.0 trillion.
• The vision for the future entails developing U.P. cities as important centers of trade on commerce with emphasis on local economic development, cities will work to create a business-friendly environment and provide incentives for businesses to locate within the city.
• Cities will enhance the ease of doing business through improvements in building permission system policies and regulations.
• With a focus on promoting regional development, the government is in the process of enacting new legislation for the creation of State Capital Region and other Regions' Development Authorities for comprehensive planning, balanced urbanization and harmonious development in the regions, preparation of town planning schemes and local area plans and their effective implementation.
In what ways is the department leveraging technology and data-driven solutions to enhance the efficiency of urban planning and management?
The following steps have been taken:
• Online Building Plan Approval System (OBPAS) has been implemented in all the Development Authorities and U.P. Housing and Development Board since 2019. A new Fast and Simplified Trust based Plan Approval System (FASTPAS) is being introduced to overcome the short comings of the OBPAS system.
• Online services have been introduced in the following JANHIT services:-
➢ Mutation of properties
➢ Request for duplicate orders
➢ Refund against allotted/unallotted properties
➢ Freehold of properties
➢ Registration of properties
➢ Compounding of maps
➢ Completion cum occupancy certificate • Unauthorised construction case disposal system “Pravartan” has been introduced by all the Development Authorities and the issue of notices and other case-related work is being performed online.
• All court cases are being monitored online through the portal.
• GIS based master plans are being prepared for 59 cities of the state having more than 1.0 lakh population and the work is in advanced stage of completion.
• E-Tender, E-Bill and E-MB have been introduced in all the Development Authorities
• Digitization of all property records in the Development Authorities are under process.
• Land audit in Development Authorities is being carried out using IT enabled services. Authorities are able to identity encroached or unused land located in prime locations through land audit.