New Urban Housing Policy for 'green' settlements

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New Delhi, Dec 8 (UNI) The rising environmental concerns have been incorporated in the new National Urban Housing Policy announced by the Government yesterday.

The policy envisages creation of green belt around cities to maintain the ecological balance which is under great strain due to deforestation and other factors.

Cities and towns will be encouraged to keep a significant proportion of the total Master Plan area as 'green lungs of the city'.

Besides, water bodies will be protected with special emphasis on keeping the flood plains of tropical rivers free from construction and encroachments. Also care would be taken to prevent large depressions from being filled up since they are natural drainage points for conservation of water and can be developed as suitable water bodies.

The Ministry of Urban Poverty Alleviation said that states and Union tTerritories would be asked to develop sub-regional plans for areas with fragile ecological characteristics keeping in view the Environmental Impact Assessment to take care of all environmental concerns at the planning stage itself.

The Ministry said that suitable green recreational areas like zoo, lakes and gardens would be developed for public under the Master Plan of each city and town.

Moreover, model bye-laws would be developed to promote the use of renewable energy sources, particularly, solar water heating systems in residential areas and commercial buildings.

The policy makers said that to maintain the sustainability of cities, migration from rural areas had to be stopped, and for that development of satellite townships and fast transport corridors was needed.

While advocating development of new greenfield integrated townships, the Policy emphasises that the site for such townships should exclude prime agricultural land growing more than one crop a year.

It has adopted a regional planning approach, the objective of which is to develop a symbiotic rural-urban continuum, which is sustainble.

Pointing out that poverty and unemployment were the main cause of the unbalanced growth and of urban settlements, the policy lays emphasis on formulation of poverty alleviation and employment generation schemes by the states and Union Territories.


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