Pressure for urbanisation will destroy Earths green cover

Pressure for urbanisation will destroy Earths green cover
Jun 2019 , by , in Interviews

Realty+ chats to Nidhi Dandona, an architect, urban designer, Associate Professor with M.Arch from School of planning and architecture, New Delhi (Urban Design).  Nidhi Dandona is heading the Master of Architecture Programme in Urban Design at Sushant School of art and architecture, Gurgaon since its inception in the year 2014. She has worked on various Urban Design, Redevelopment and architectural projects which include Institutional, religious and health care buildings.

What is the reason behind the Haryana government opening up forest land for construction?

The main reason behind this decision is the pressure for urbanisation from various sectors to promote growth. The government is trying to make more land available for housing and other uses to create job opportunities.  The government will also make revenue from these opportunities as to them the forest does not give any monetary return.

Will there be benefits of more land availability for city growth & development?

We should not stop growth but we can provide guidelines to control and guide it and make development in a manner that doesn’t take away land from forest reserve. These can be done in various ways without green field development like by increasing the FAR in the urbanised area where the infrastructure already exits and can be strengthened. If we develop in the forest areas, then this be at the cost of the green lungs of Delhi-NCR.

How do developers stand to benefit from the Amendment to land preservation Act?

The developers will completely benefit because it appears that this amendment has been done to favour the developers more than the citizens. The more vacant land at their disposal gives them more opportunity to build more and control the market. At this point, we should also focus on the already built stock established in many parts of the suburbs which is lying vacant as second homes for investments for people. By developing in forest land we are wasting both natural and man-made resources.

Will this decision have an adverse effect on the already shaky environment and ecology in Delhi-NCR?

As we are aware, Haryana has a very poor forest cover and getting rid of whatever little we have in this state will make the situation worse.  The air pollution problem will become worse in Delhi-NCR. The depleting water table of Gurgaon will go down further with more interventions on the land. We should note that these are irreparable losses and cannot be reversed. Once we lose an aquifer we cannot get it back. The wildlife and flora fauna of the Aravalis has been a saviour for many years for the ecosystem of Delhi-NCR. The natural water bodies in Aravalis replenish the water for the cities and if we take that away then it will create more problems and possibly natural disasters. We should learn from other cities around the world like New York, Milan, Athens etc that are trying to make their cities green and get the pollution levels down and also save soil from erosion and maintain the ground water levels in the cities.

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