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“School of Planning and Architecture team confers with DM on Vrindavan master plan” by Jagannath Poddar, Vrindavan Today

Poddar, J. “School of Planning and Architecture team confers with DM on Vrindavan master plan.” Vrindavan Today. 27 June 2011.

School of Planning and Architecture team confers with DM on Vrindavan master plan

By Jagannath Poddar

June 27, 2011

Mathura (2011.06.26) VT: As a followup to the District Magistrate’s invitation earlier this month, the Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance brought a group of professors and students from the prestigious School of Planning and Architecture, including its director, Prof. A.K. Sharma, to discuss the current situation in Vrindavan development plans.

Earlier this month, a delegation from the Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance met the Mathura District Magistrate to express its anguish over the present condition of Vrindavan. The delegation informed the District Magistrate that the sewage line being laid by the Jal Nigam (Waterworks Dep’t) is a disaster for Vrindavan. The delegation raised serious doubt on the quality of the work being done by the government agency. The District Magistrate was intimated that there was no need of laying the sewerage line 30 feet deep in the ground on the Parikrama Marg which is on the Yamuna flood plain.

Although the Yamuna, which is the lifeline of Braj-Vrindavan is completely polluted, the river has still been recharging Vrindavan’s underground water. At least the Brajvasis could access pure potable underground water. But the new sewage plan could lead to disaster as any leak or seepage would pollute the underground water.

The Alliance further raised concern over the storm water drains being built in the town where in many cases as much as a third of the breadth of a road is being used to make big drains. Experience shows that these drains are never cleaned by the municipal workers and become filled with detritus, meaning that ultimately they will be the cause of flooding.

The District Magistrate gave a patient hearing to the delegation and promised to act on the issues raised by the BVHA. Simultaneously he asked the BVHA members to approach some good planner who could come to Mathura and study the plan made by the government departments. Their comments would be incorporated to improve the existing plan and the rest of the development project would be implemented accordingly.

BVHA approached the highly prestigious planning institution the School of Planning and Architecture to kindly visit Mathura to have a meeting with the officials. SPA director Professor A.K. Sharma kindly gave consent to visit the Mathura DM along with his team. Professor Sharma came with the head of some important departments of the SPA to attend the meeting at the conference room at the Collectorate in Mathura. Prof. Sharma was accompanied by the Head of the Department of Architecture Prof. Nalini Thakur, Shri Suresh Chandra Goyal, and Sharad Chandra.

The meeting was chaired by the Mathura District Magistrate Shri N.G. Ravikumar. Present were the Additional District Magistrate Avdhesh Tiwari, City Magistrate Ram Avtar Raman, the Chief Engineers of the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority and U.P. Jal Nigam, Mathura, the Executive Officers of Mathura and Vrindavan Municipality, the Project Managers of the Larsen and Taurbo and J.P. Group along with the delegates from the Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance.

The BVHA delegation led by Shri Madan Bihari Das raised the issues of the illegal construction on the Yamuna flood plain, the poor quality of sewage laying and the flaws in its planning, the unnecessary storm water drains built under the development plans and the damage done to the steps of the ghats while digging to make the drains.

The Chief Engineer of sewage from the U.P. Jal Nigam said that there was no flaw in the planning and it is the people who misuse the government facility. He pointed out that government built the drains and the people fill it by throwing the garbage in it. Thus the water overflows on the road. The BVHA delegates strongly objected and said that it is the duty of the Municipality to provide the garbage dumping facilities to the people. They said if an alternative is provided no one will put the garbage in the drains.

Prof. A.K. Sharma said that the infrastructure of the small town should be managed on micro level and the CDP master plan should be made keeping the view of the heritage and culture of these towns. The standard designs made for metropolitan areas or big towns cannot be implemented for smaller towns.

Prof. Nalini Thakur pointed out that Vrindavan is famous as sacred town but by just saying it is sacred is not enough, it needs to have certain qualifying criteria so that people can feel it is sacred. Any development plan should be made in order to conserve the heritage of Vrindavan.

Lack of coordination among the departments could clearly be observed during the meeting. It still seems that there is no comprehensive master plan for the whole town. The work of each department is being overlapped by another.

Finally it was decided that the master plan and C.D.P. will be sent to the SPA director and that a team will again visit Vrindavan and evaluate the work done so far. The District Magistrate Shri N.G. Ravikumar said that all the suggestions to be made by the SPA will be used to amend the master plan made by the departments.

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