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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Old government quarters to make way for new highrise apartments in Delhi

NEW DELHI: Thousands of rickety and stubby government buildings dotting a major arterial road cutting through the heart of New Delhi could soon make way to new highrise apartments and office blocks, in one of the biggest redevelopment exercises since Independence that will change the skyline of the national Capital.

The government plans to redevelop housing colonies such as Kidwai Nagar, RK Puram, Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Lodhi Road and Moti Bagh located on prime real estate along the Ring Road in south Delhi into new highrise residential and commercial districts, a top official said.

Plans are afoot to build 10-12 storey residential blocks in place of the existing two-storey structures, funded either by leasing office space that will be part of the redevelopment or through the sale of land to private companies.

"Land is not being used optimally and it is costing us a lot of money to maintain these old structures. All government colonies will be redeveloped," Sudhir Krishna, secretary in the ministry of Urban Development, told ET.
 "Lifestyles of people have changed, there is need for more parking and neighbourhood shopping, which will be provided in these modern buildings," he added.

Krishna said his ministry was engaged in consultations with a range of bodies such as the New Delhi Municipal Council, National Monuments Authority, Airports Authority and Delhi Urban Art Commission for the redevelopment and would move ahead only after obtaining clearances from them.

Built in the 1950s and 60s to house central government employees, Delhi has around 30 such colonies for housing assorted ranks of government officials that occupy around 1,100 hectares of prime real estate.

The redevelopment of the colonies could alleviate some of the acute space pressures being faced by the city, which already has 16.7 million people and has hundreds of new migrants entering it every day.

Much like how the redevelopment of textile mill land in Mumbai, many of them built during the British era, into towering skyscrapers has changed the character of that city, the redevelopment of these government housing colonies could change Delhi's long held image as a burgeoning horizontal sprawl.

The construction of these new buildings will be done by the government's own firm, the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), which recently used proceeds from the sale of a land parcel to the Leela hotel group in the diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri to redevelop New Moti Bagh.

NBCC has been given the task to redevelop East Kidwai Nagar on the Ring Road across the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, whose redevelopment was recently approved by the union cabinet.

East Kidwai Nagar has some 2,200 homes, all of which will be razed and in their place will spring around 4,700 new houses in four- to 12-storey buildings.
Source The Economic Times, 27 Dec, 2012

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