Delhi Musings: ‘Shrinking’ NCR and Ramlila in Delhi Assembly

On one hand we are creating a Central Vista that will house more offices for a govt that had promised ‘minimum government maximum governance’, on other hand is this proposal to shrink the Delhi NCR

Ramlila in Delhi Assembly
Ramlila in Delhi Assembly

Giraj Sharma

Urban agglomerations shrinking in area are rarely heard but then this is India in 2020s – we can ‘make’ things happen. So, while on the one hand we are creating a Central Vista that will house more offices for a government that had promised ‘minimum government maximum governance’, on the other hand is this proposal to shrink the Delhi NCR.

Yes, the National Capital Region will squeeze itself to a 100-km radius from the current 150-175 kilometres radius. The NCR Planning Board has approved a plan under which the areas beyond the 100 km radius will cease to be a part of the NCR.

Called the ‘Draft Regional Plan 2041’ - it apparently will focus on the development of NCR’s urban areas. What all such plans have done till now is to create gated colonies, condominiums and commercial infrastructure. ‘Self-colonising by those who were once colonised’ seems to be the order of the day.

Interestingly, the centre point for measurement of the 100 km radius is the Rajghat. Now, whoever says that we have lost track of Gandhi is so wrong. We still find ways and means of making the Mahatma and his symbols relevant! Sceptics will do well to check the logo of Swachh Bharat before accusing this writer of too much sarcasm.

Some fans of our man AK would be thinking of accusing the government at the Centre of reducing the size of Delhi NCR as a malafide means of curtailing the growing influence of the Aam Aadmi Party. For them, and for the man himself, AK is an unstoppable phenomenon. After all we are living in an era of megalomaniacs, aren’t we?

Ramlila in the House: Perhaps the commitments of the Delhi CM during the Ramlila season have been too taxing for him to soak in all this and make a comment on this yet. Poor guy has been made to attend one extra Ramlila celebration and this one was at the Delhi Legislative Assembly. Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel has been attempting to celebrate every festival in the Assembly. Our man AK sees this as an out-of-the-box effort to increase the feeling of love and peace among members, who mostly disagree on everything. That, one would assume, should be making the Assembly a hotbed for debates and discussions and, therefore, an interesting place. Not surprisingly, the CM finds all that ‘dull and boring’. That a Ramlila would stir up a congregation of city MLAs from their ‘dull and boring’ life inside the Assembly hall is something that even the great Tulsidas would have never imagined while he was penning down the epic.

Ludhiana in Manchester: In between the Ramlilas, the Delhi CM took time to record a message for the people of Punjab. Recorded in Punjabi on IVR in our man AK’s voice -- this is played time and again on people’s phone. No surprises there as the standard free bijli-paani promise is a part of the message as is his plea to be given a chance to govern Punjab.

Elections are round the corner and AAP wants to contest these by riding on AK’s back. That Europe bug, however, is still on and pulsating (AK has been talking of giving Delhi a European make-over). While addressing a gathering of industrialists at Ludhiana he expressed his desire of making Ludhiana into a Manchester. Little does he know that Manchester is like Ludhiana now.

Not only can one survive there speaking only Punjabi, one can dig into the standard Punjabi meal just about anywhere. In fact, there is a prominent road in South Manchester that is nicknamed Curry Mile because of the number of restaurants and eateries serving butter chicken and saag paneer. And in Manchester they play their football using balls made at Jallandhar. But then AK is AK and he even asked the folks present in Ludhiana to side with him as Arjun did in Mahabharata. We are still researching on this one and once we get a fix on the context, metaphorically or otherwise, this column shall feature it.

(The writer is a blogger at

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