New Delhi is reconsidering its policy allowing regulated development in Zone O, or the Yamuna and its floodplain, following recent floods in the capital. The floods inundated several unauthorized colonies in low-lying areas, prompting the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to seek information from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) about the affected colonies and villages. The DDA provided the ministry with the necessary information, and the ministry will decide if any changes need to be made to the draft Master Plan related to regulated development of the floodplain. The DDA believes that the provision of regulated development proposed in the draft plan is capable of restricting further encroachment and unauthorised construction on the floodplain.

According to the Master Plan 2021, Zone O encompasses the entire floodplain along the Yamuna in Delhi, covering 10,000 hectares. The draft Master Plan of 2041 divides Zone O into Zone O-I and Zone O-II, with no construction permitted in Zone O-I and regulated development allowed in Zone O-II. However, there is now a viewpoint that the plan should be reevaluated in light of the recent floods and their impact on residential areas in Zone O-II.

Experts and some officials have raised concerns about the delineation of the Yamuna, arguing that it could lead to an extension of unauthorised construction and exacerbate the problem of flooding in colonies built on the floodplains. The river zone (O-I) spans 6,295 hectares, while the regulated riverfront (Zone O-II) covers 3,638 hectares and includes approximately 76 unauthorised colonies. Once the delineation is notified, construction activity in these colonies can be regularised.

In conclusion, the recent floods in New Delhi have prompted the government to reconsider its policy on regulated development in Zone O. The ministry is reviewing the draft Master Plan and will decide if any changes are necessary. Concerns have been raised about the impact of the delineation of the Yamuna on unauthorised construction and flooding in the affected colonies. The final decision will aim to balance the need for development with the preservation of the floodplain and the prevention of further encroachment.

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