Technology-based master plans for all 278 ULBs planned

Citizens look at a master plan in Davangere.

The state government is looking to scale up its ambitious project of preparing technology-based master plans for all 278 Urban Local Bodies (ULB), a reform authorities hope will improve administration in smaller towns and cities.  

A master plan is a document that governs the future development of a town or city.

Already, urban planning is going digital in 26 cities in Karnataka, where Geographic Information System (GIS)-based master plans will be prepared, allowing real-time monitoring of land use and check violations.

For example, if an urban development authority approves the building of a road, it can be updated instantly on the digital maps to reflect the land use change. Any violation can be tracked without having to manually look up maps.

The GIS-based master plan for 26 cities is a project the Urban Development Department (UDD) has taken up as part of the Centre’s Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).

“We’ve already started working on other cities. We’re now estimating how much it’ll cost for the entire state,” Urban Development secretary (Municipalities and Urban Development Authorities) Anjum Parwez said.

Allowing ULBs to prepare their own master plans, however, will require giving them the status of a planning authority, an official pointed out. “We are pushing the Directorate of Town and Country Planning to get this done. So far, only about 140 ULBs have been designated as a planning authority,” the official said. 

Online approval

Also, digitizing master plans is imperative because the government will soon launch online approvals for building plans. The two processes are indispensably interlinked.

Cities such as New York and London use strategic spatial planning to collectively re-imagine possible futures, identify priorities and implementable projects.

In Karnataka, spatial tools will be used to create base or thematic maps that will show existing land use. Then, cities are to put together a sector-wise database. These will be dovetailed into the master plan formulation.

“For the 26 cities, the base maps are ready and work will start,” Parwez said.

According to Shivamogga City Corporation commissioner Charulata Somal, the GIS-based master plan will help in a number of ways.

“As of now, we have various unassessed maps and properties including revenue sites, slums, unauthorised ones etc. It’ll help in better asset management and protection of corporation properties apart from improved revenue collections, land record management and a robust database,” she said.

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