From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Draft Regional Plan 2041
Mains level : Issues with the plan
Many environment analysts and activists has offered objections to the Draft Regional Plan-2041 for National Capital Region (NCR).
Draft Regional Plan 2041
- The National Capital Region Planning Board had sought objections and suggestions to the Draft RP-2041 from public.
- Under the NCRPB plan, Delhi, two districts of Rajasthan, eight districts of Uttar Pradesh and 14 districts of Haryana are covered. In all, it covers an area of around 55,083 square kilometres.
- The plan paves the way for a future-ready and slum-free NCR comprising of facilities like air ambulance, high-speed connectivity by means of rail, road, Heli taxis, and inland waterways.
- This plan puts special impetus on 30-minute connectivity by means of super-fast trains within major cities of NCR.
- It also proposes to explore feasibility of 30-minute Mass Transit Rail System (MTRS) from boundaries of NCR to Delhi.
- The plan seeks to make NCR a smart connected region by improving connectivity using bullet trains, smart roads, and helitaxi services.
- It will evolve the region into an economically prosperous region comprising of citizen centric harmonious infrastructure.
- It laid emphasis on circular economy of water & air quality improvements, improving environment conservation.
Need for the plan
- There was a need to ease out traffic congestions and create more integrated, accessible, user-centric and affordable transportation system.
Various objections with the Plan
- The plan excludes the terms “Aravalli” and “forest areas” from the Natural Conservation Zone (NCZ).
- The Aravallis were an integral part of the NCZ in the current Regional Plan-2021.
- This has left Aravallis open to unlimited real estate construction.
- Similarly, the phrase “forest areas” has been deleted from the NCZ also. This will drastically reduce the forest cover that is eligible for NCZ zoning protection.
Why Aravallis matters?
- The Aravallis are home to over 400 species of native trees, shrubs and herbs, more than 200 native and migratory bird species, and wildlife that includes leopards, jackals, hyenas, mongoose and civet cats.
- They are crucial to groundwater recharge, which is significant given the water scarcity the region faces during harsh summer months.
- The thick forest cover helps to naturally purify air in a region plagued by high levels of vehicular and industrial pollution through the year.
Back2Basics: Aravali Range
- The Aravali is a mountain range in Northwestern India, running approximately 670 km in a southwest direction, starting near Delhi, passing through southern Haryana and Rajasthan, and ending in Gujarat.
- The highest peak is Guru Shikhar at 1,722 meters.
- The Aravalli Range, an eroded stub of ancient mountains, is the oldest range of fold mountains in India.
- The natural history of the Aravalli Range dates back to times when the Indian Plate was separated from the Eurasian Plate by an ocean.
- Three major rivers and their tributaries flow from the Aravalli, namely Banas and Sahibi rivers which are tributaries of Yamuna, as well as Luni River which flows into the Rann of Kutch.