Date: 3rd July 2013
The National Capital Region has expanded with the addition of three more districts – Mahendragarh, Bhiwani (both in Haryana) and Bharatpur (Rajasthan) on Monday bringing the number of districts in the NCR to 19 and increasing the total area by 34% to 45,887sq km.
Also there are districts like Jind and Karnal (Haryana) and Mathura (UP) waiting to join the elite club of NCR Region. Government sources said Monday’s inclusion was dictated by adjacency with existing NCR boundaries and ‘good’ rail and road connectivity to the national capital and other major cities.
It was claimed by the NCR Planning Commission that the expansion would help in dispersal of economic activities and reduce pressure on Delhi’s health, educational and economic infrastructure. However, the dispersal that is being talked about has remained in theory only, except for Noida, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon. It is no secret that the plan to shift central government offices to NCR cities has failed completely as only the corporate organizations have been able to shift their base to Gurgaon and Noida.
Despite the cheap loans that come to a district with an NCR membership, the lack of infrastructure and planned growth in cities such as Meerut, Bulandshahr, Baghpat and Hapur remains glaring. Moreover, the failure to resolve transport as well as law and order issues between Delhi and its immediate neighbors points to lack of coordination between administrations with often different political masters.
Experts said that the biggest parameter of prosperity in most NCR districts were “real estate prices”. The NCR tag could prove to be beneficial for realtors and builders in the areas where infrastructure remains pathetic and the resolve to change things largely absent.
“The demand of constituent states in the NCR to include more areas will increase due to political reasons. The recent requests came from MLAs or parliamentary secretaries,” said an official who did not wish to be named. According to the Experts at Certes, the biggest benefit of this is that districts would have access to funding from NCRPB at cheap rates. Loans for infrastructure projects can be availed at 7-8% interest. Hence, Fund availability will make cities and government capable of taking up infrastructure augmentation projects. Haryana has taken almost 70% of the total loans that NCRPB has disbursed whereas most of the other cities have failed in exploiting the opportunity to get low-interest loans.