“India’s cities are old and multi-layered. The medieval is over laid with the imperial, the imperial with post-independence settlements and the post-independence portions are now heavily inter-layered with slums, unplanned or unauthorized colonies and new colonies developed by builders with neither character nor aesthetics.” – Late Dr. M. N. Buch, IAS (Retd)
Dr. M. N. Buch, a former bureaucrat, was commonly referred to as the ‘architect of new Bhopal’. Dr. Buch was an Indian Administrative Service officer,1957 batch. Born in October 1934, he graduated in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University in 1954 and then did his Masters from Cambridge University in 1956. He was a Parvin Fellow at Woodrow Wilson School for one year from 1967 to 1968. He took voluntary retirement from government service in 1984. Dr. Buch passed away on 6 June, 2015 in Bhopal. He was 81.
Dr. Buch held many senior positions in the Government of Madhya Pradesh and in the Union Government. He was Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority; Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, and Vice-Chairman, National Commission on Urbanization. He founded the National Centre for Human Settlements and Environment in Bhopal and served as its Chairman till the end.
Dr. Buch earned many awards and recognitions for his work. He was honoured with Padma Bhushan for his contributions to civil service in 2011. He was also awarded the UNEP award for implementation of desertification control programme in 1994-95 and Aga Khan award for Architecture in 1998.
Dr. Buch wrote four books on urban planning:
1. M. N. Buch (2008). When the Harvest Moon is Blue. Har Anand Publications.
2. M. N. Buch (1993). Environmental Consciousness and Urban Planning (Tracts for the Times), Stosius Inc/Advent Books Division.
3. M. N. Buch (1991). Of man and his settlements. Sanchar Pub. House.
4. M. N. Buch (1987). Planning the Indian City. Vikas Publications.
Dr. Buch will also be remembered as a straight-talking, no nonsense bureaucrat.
ABOUT NIUA-ADB-IHC URBAN DIALOGUES-2015
NIUA in partnership with Asian Development Bank and India Habitat Centre launched a monthly dialogue series in January 2015 for initiating discourses on emerging themes in the urban sector. The dialogues are conducted in a seminar format wherein experts (thought leaders, academicians, practitioners, policy makers) are invited to provide multi-perspective views on approaches to address urban realities.