Measures recommended in draft Delhi Master Plan to develop systems for unpredictable disasters

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New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) Periodic safety audits for structural safety and forming state-of-the-art Delhi Disaster Response Force (DDRF) are among the measures recommended in the draft Master Plan of Delhi 2041 to develop resilient systems that can 'withstand, respond to, adapt and recover in the event of unpredictable disasters'.

In the next 20 years, the infrastructure in Delhi will face an 'unprecedented pressure', and therefore, has to be both responsive to emerging needs and resilient to 'shocks and stresses', reads the draft plan, noting that the 'focus is to create a sustainable and resource-efficient environment by enabling provision of robust and resilient infrastructure services'.

The draft, which is now in public domain for objections and suggestions from common citizens, facilitates Delhi's development by assessing the present condition and guiding how to achieve the desired development over next 20 years. It has been prepared by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

'The 'Delhi Disaster Management Plan' (DDMP) prepared by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has identified and listed the vulnerable areas, colonies, settlements in Delhi for various types of disasters and also recommends periodic safety audits for structural safety, fire safety, electric safety etc., to be conducted by local bodies and agencies concerned to create disaster preparedness for Delhi,' said the draft plan.

It further suggested that the DDMA may set up a state-of-the-art information and communication technology (ICT) enabled Delhi Disaster Response Force (DDRF) for effective response at the time of a disaster or an unpredictable event.

'This force can be supported by government departments and agencies as well as hospitals, CSOs etc. This force shall carry out regular risk assessment exercises, receive and transmit early warning signals, converge all necessary protocols to be followed at the time of occurrence and activate all response systems,' it explained.

The plan, which claims to align with the state and national regulations on disaster mitigation and preparedness, takes a three-pronged approach in terms of reducing risks and vulnerabilities, 'mitigating the impact, being prepared to respond to disasters by building state-of-the-art resilient infrastructure and systems, and facilitating an aware citizenry'.

From carrying 'dedicated structural audits' across the city to 'augmenting the green cover and water -sensitive urban development', it has suggested several steps to build resilience and preparedness for natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

'Concerned agencies may identify areas/localities that are at risk of incurring tremendous damage in the event of a natural disaster. Such areas may be facilitated to undergo mandatory retrofitting or redevelopment to ensure safety of the residents. Regeneration Schemes proposed in high risk zones may be given priority over other projects by concerned agencies,' suggested the draft plan to reduce seismic vulnerability.

It also suggested several measures for reducing vulnerability to pandemics, including the likes of promoting 'decentralised workspaces', 'mandatory creation of open areas, public spaces and plazas in new developments' or a 'better habitat design and green rated developments' to reduce the dependence on mechanical ventilation systems -- posing a threat during airborne epidemics. 'Decentralised workspaces shall be promoted in the form of co-working spaces, shared workspaces within slum rehabilitation projects, support for home-based work, etc. Additionally, common community spaces shall be promoted to be utilised for providing refuge spots, common kitchens, quarantine spaces etc., at the time of emergency,' said the draft plan.

Also, 'development of large green areas, mandatory creation of open areas, public spaces and plazas in new developments, and reducing built densities through planned regeneration' will support requirements of social distancing during pandemics, while providing an active public realm during normal times, it added.

The draft of Master Plan for Delhi 2041, envisions 'foster a sustainable, liveable and vibrant Delhi by 2041' comprises two volumes -- ''Vision 2041 and Enabling Policy Framework'' and ''Spatial Development Strategy and Action Plan'' -- and 22 chapters. PTI MG AAR AAR