The Lord of Contemporary Urban Development (CUD) was home. His little boy, blowing gum bubbles, said, ‘India is Sovereign. People of India are Supreme. Does that not make the People Emperor?’ The Lord nodded. ‘But,’ continued His baby, ‘this Emperor has no clothes.’ The Lord exclaimed, ‘What do you mean? Are the officials who visit me naked?’ Bursting a gum bubble, the little boy said, ‘That’s just the shiny crown, the rest of the Emperor is nangu (naked).’

The Lord switched on his computer, input Scenario and pressed ‘Enter’. The screen flashed the default Old-fashioned Urban Development Option—‘sell the crown and buy reasonably priced outfit from cap to sock’. The Lord shook His head and clicked Next. The screen flashed the CUD Option—‘do nothing if the Emperor has not noticed’. The Lord was not sure and clicked Else. The screen flashed ‘Get the Emperor outfitted by a minimalist high-fashion tailor through some global grant facility’. The Lord issued the necessary directions. A grant was negotiated and a High-fashion Outfitter and Tailor of All-India and International Repute (HOTAIR) was appointed. HOTAIR made a flamboyant presentation of his curriculum vitae to a large assemblage of officials, politicians and other representatives of civil society. He said he would do a need assessment, a client assessment and a resource assessment. (An assessment of how the Emperor came to be naked was not part of the Terms of Reference.)

First HOTAIR went to measure the Emperor, who was very surprised when assistants started measuring his body instead of his head. HOTAIR explained, ‘I have been commissioned to make you an outfit that will make your crown look good.’ The Emperor, who knew nothing of high fashion, was overwhelmed and cooperated fully, lifting and bending and turning and standing as instructed. Next HOTAIR went on a little trip for client assessment. He separately met all the important people who would have anything to do with his project to get an idea of what they expected from this important commission. Finally, HOTAIR returned to his hotel to begin resource assessment. From the gross resource amount he deducted his fees and allowances and expenses for equipment (some important people he had met wanted to sell something top-of-the-line that he wanted) and overheads, etc. Eventually he arrived at the net resource position.

HOTAIR then input the Emperor’s measurements into his computer and clicked Output. The screen flashed only one option—a close fitting plain tunic with a fashion score of 0. HOTAIR went to Options and enabled Shredding. He could generate a loser tunic with cutouts and a fashion score of 1. HOTAIR kept working with options on fabric and shredding till he had an option with a fashion score of 10—a net of thin ribbons of latest Lycra with broad gaps. It did not cover much, but looked very good. Indeed, his clients were electrified and his design was immediately approved. HOTAIR then sent high-quality printouts to international fashion institutes along with an explanatory text about the process, acknowledging everyone’s participation. The execution of the design had barely started when a communication arrived to say it had won a prestigious fashion award. A date was set for completion and a parade was announced. The media waxed eloquent on the internationally acclaimed design and the build-up to the parade met the standards of the most exacting event managers. On the appointed day the excited Emperor waited to be clothed. (Actually he waited even after he was clothed but that was only because he knew nothing of high fashion and thought there was more to the dress.)

It was cold, but the Emperor tried to walk tall and proud so as to look worthy of his internationally acclaimed clothes. The Lord of CUD asked His little boy, ‘So?’ Bursting a gum bubble as usual the little boy said, ‘The Emperor’s still nangu. And the cold is going to kill him.’ But down below The Lord could only see hordes of fashionable and wannabe fashionable people cheering the Emperor’s fashionable clothes. Indulgently dismissing His gum bubble-bursting baby’s remark, The Lord joined in cheering the Emperor’s New Clothes—and the greatness of CUD.

Faking Success1

Most citizens of Indore came to know of the British Overseas Development Administration (ODA)—now called the Department for International Development (DfID)—in October 1987 through local newspaper reports about a six-member team that was in the city to discuss a slum project worth millions.2 By then, ODA had been doing similar projects elsewhere in India for some years. Its typical slum project had physical infrastructure, and health and community development components and was implemented through urban local bodies with monitoring and steering committees at state level. Capacity building through training and study visits to other cities and abroad was an integral part of its projects and, at times, it also funded some city infrastructure in support of its in-slum infrastructure.

The Indore slum project had all these features with one significant difference—it used ‘slum networking’ for infrastructure provision. Slum networking is supposed to be a holistic approach to not just slum improvement but urban improvement.3 For slums it promises much-improved quality of life through engineering innovations, notably creation of individual infrastructure. For the city, it promises much-improved infrastructure and environment, notably cleaning up rivers by eliminating flow of untreated sewage into them.

In March 1988 British assistance worth Rs 390 million for the Indore Habitat Improvement Project for improving 183 slums (with 80,000 families) over five years was agreed.4 But it was only after Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) agreed to take maintenance responsibilities after Indore Development Authority (IDA) had completed project works that final approval was accorded in December 1989.5 The project, originally meant to be implemented over five years between 1988 and 1993, finally started in 1990 and even then not quite in dead earnest.6 Community development started in March 1990,the first community hall was inaugurated in August 1990 (but remained unused for months) and forty neighbourhood groups had been formed by December of that year.7 Other works, however, started later and the state-level monitoring committee was constituted only in February 1991.8

In Indore the slow start attracted flack from various quarters—local media, slum dwellers and even the ODA.9 But in Delhi, there was greater optimism. The chief of the Urban Poverty Office in the ODA gave a talk on the project at the Human Settlements Management Institute (HSMI), India’s premier training organization for urban development, and research and training wing of the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). He told a story about puppets.10

Slum dwellers were trained to make puppets. Although they made puppets as good as any, they found it difficult to sell them. Then, with the help of project staff, they came up with an idea. After school, children from the slums would go to shops and ask for the brand of puppets made by the slum dwellers. The shopkeeper would try and sell them other brands, which they would refuse. A week or so later, someone from the slums would go to the shops with their puppets. The shopkeepers would exclaim, ‘Ah, these are the puppets the children have been asking for!’ Once in shops, the puppets sold well. The chief of the Urban Projects Office said vocational training was a tricky component. In Calcutta they had done a lot of beautician training and women found jobs because Calcutta ladies spend on themselves. In Andhra Pradesh this did not work well. In one project, there was more damage than failure to provide jobs. Training was given in bidi making, but there was only so much demand. Much of the stock could not be sold and bidi-makers, including children, began to smoke. In Indore, he said, they had used all their experience and were sure that the Indore Habitat Improvement Project would be a very successful slum project.

* * *

In Indore, ODA, which had been critical of project progress till October 1991, came to appreciate IDA’s efforts by January 1992 and was quite satisfied with it by May.11 The camaraderie between IDA and ODA was fortuitous in the run up to the British Prime Minister John Major’s visit in January 1993. ODA had many projects in India, but its slum projects were the flagship of British development aid, inasmuch as other bilateral agencies had not yet made noteworthy forays into this investment arena. And Indore was where a ‘new, improved’ ODA slum project was in place. And so it came to be that John Major’s itinerary included Indore, where he would spend twenty-eight and thirty-two minutes in two slums improved with British taxpayers’ money. For residents in these slums conditions improved virtually overnight. Dustbins, toilets, bathrooms and even a statue of Buddha were frantically installed.12 Residents blessed the prime minister for this windfall.13 Cynical journalists wrote against this charade.14 A cartoonist captured the spirit of the situation in his drawing of two IDA engineers in conversation, saying: ‘If we had information of “his” arrival earlier we could have changed huts into bungalows!”15

The stage management worked. The prime minister left ‘very pleased with the improvements’.16 The duration of the project was extended to 1995 and the amount of aid to Rs 424.5 million.17 One of the slums John Major visited was declared a ‘model slum’, though it was not renamed in his honour.18 The cover of the project annual report for 1993 had a picture of him in one of the slums under the project. After a few copies had moved on, it was noticed that the Indian flag in the picture was upside down. The copies were withdrawn and the picture substituted by another one of the visit.

In Delhi the mood was jubilant and preparations underway to get greater mileage out of Indore. The unedited videotape on ODA’s award submission for the 1993 World Habitat Award hada woman describing the operations of the saving and credit group in her slum. Without faltering even once she gave details of group size, saving amounts, periodicity of collections and meetings, loan amounts, loan conditions, default management and whatnot. The camera stayed on her face even after she had finished. ‘OK?’ asked someone outside the view of the camera. ‘Uh uh. But she forgot to mention ODA,’ replied someone else, also outside the shot. ‘Please start with “In the ODA project.” and say that again,’ asked someone of the lady. The lady obliged.19

In Indore in 1993 things were not so rosy. The local press reported cases of mismanagement.20 An erstwhile member of the high-level monitoring committee alleged misuse of funds.21 There were complaints of water-borne diseases from various ODA slums, which were attributed to contamination of water due to choking of underground drains installed under the project.22 At the end of May that year, a death from jaundice was reported. A local newspaper carried a highly critical article on the ODA project, which said, ‘After four years and more than Rs 210 million there isn’t a single slum that IDA can show and say this is the ODA project. In some places more work has been done. These are the slums that ODA teams visit.’ The article also reported that of fifty slums in which underground sewage lines had been laid, drainage was choked in most on account of engineering defects and also because there was not enough water to drink, leave alone flush toilets. It also highlighted the risk of water contamination on account of water and sewage lines running close to one another in narrow slum streets and said that an IMC engineer had written to IDA about this.23

Nevertheless, in July 1994 in Leicestershire, UK, the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) presented the World Habitat Award (‘a cash award of £10,000 and an individually designed and crafted silver trophy’) to Indore’s slum project for its ‘pioneering work in developing an innovative and successful approach to slum improvement… Slum Networking’.24 BSHF ‘carries out research into all aspects of housing, concerning itself with the immediate and practical problems of housing today as well as attempting to look to the future in a progressive and imaginative way’. The World Habitat Award competition, a major area of BSHF activity, was initiated in 1985 ‘in order to identify innovative and successful human settlement projects throughout the world which could be replicated elsewhere’.25 There were 121 entries the year Indore’s slum project won the award.

In Indore in 1994 slum dwellers continued to allege poor quality of work and even complete wastage of funds, e.g., installation of underground drains in settlements where existing surface drains existed, even though underground drains had gotten choked almost everywhere they had been installed.26 Problems became acute once the rains started.27 Even politicians joined in criticizing IDA and the drainage works.28 The Habitat Award may have impressed the international development set, but local newspapers saw little to celebrate. One report cynically said the project had won the award ‘in spite of slush, filth, inadequate water, roads full of pot holes.’29 IDA and ODA, however, were thrilled. A picture of the trophy sat proudly on the cover of the project’s 1994 annual report. Project duration was further extended to 1997 and funding to Rs 605 million.

In November 1995, an air-conditioned bus stopped outside an improved slum instead of the city palace, because the people inside were habitat professionals, not tourists (though many sported sunglasses and caps). They were from developing countries from around the world—Cameroon, Guyana, Uganda, Malawi, Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. And, of course, from London and New Delhi.30 ‘Bursary funding was made available to meet the costs of participants from developing countries.’31 The bus, presumably, was arranged out of project funds and key project staff was hospitably assigned to take the delegates on their guided tour. When the delegates disembarked, their ‘guide’ told them all about the improvements.32 The visitors nodded in understanding and appreciation.33 Participants of the ‘international study visit’ that BSHF organizes ‘each year in collaboration with the United Nations and national governments in order that the winning World Habitat Award housing solutions can be made better known and their replication encouraged throughout the world’ left Indore very impressed.34

Although they missed it, at the time the BSHF delegates were in Indore, there was a veritable malaria epidemic in the slums, attributed to the squalor resulting from choked drainage.35 Other problems had also been noted by then. A newspaper reported from a survey of thirty-one neighbourhood groups: ‘Revolving Fund accounts were not in order. Maintenance of Community Halls was poor. Colour TVs were often found in private homes rather than in the Community Hall. There was enough evidence of political hijacking.’36 Post-project sustenance problems were also emerging with the prevarication on signing of tripartite maintenance agreements between neighbourhood groups, IDA and IMC.37

* * *

On a cold day in January 1996 a Cambridge-educated middle-aged engineering consultant from Ahmedabad warmly described hisIndore slum project at a resort on the Delhi-Jaipur highway. He was speaking at the Second Expert Group Meeting on India’s Best Practices for the UN Habitat-II Conference later that year. ‘Best Practices’ are supposed to ‘have resulted in tangible improvements in the quality of life and in the living environments of people in a sustainable way.’38 India’s National Report for Habitat II (including Best Practices) was being prepared on behalf of the Union Urban Development Ministry by HSMI/HUDCO under the supervision of a National Steering Committee and the guidance of an Advisory Committee. HSMI’s international partner, IHS-Rotterdam, was also wholeheartedly involved.

The engineering consultant from Ahmedabad had slides from Indore to show the clean streets, the engineering details of the innovative sewage provision, the plantation. There were slides of tree-guards that he said the ‘community’ had creatively improvised. There were slides of the uses to which community halls were being put. There were slides of slum children smiling. He was earnestly pleading for wider consideration of cost-effective and participatory approaches such as the one he had designed for Indore. His eyes shone as he spoke of the possibility of a slum-free India.

Among those present were several engineers, some of who were highly critical of the engineering approach. Most others, especially non-engineer and non-government participants, however, dismissed this criticism. This was partly because they did not understand engineering details, partly because they considered themselves more progressive than the ‘government engineer types’ and had no patience with their conservative views, and partly because the earnest middle-aged man was so earnest and had been to Cambridge. As everyone moved towards lunch served on the lush lawns, the support for Indore’s slum project and its earnest creator was as tangible as the lavish luncheon spread. Indore’s slum networking was included in the national Best Practices and subsequently in Istanbul at the Habitat II Conference in June 1996 it was selected as a Global Best Practice.

* * *

In Indore the summer of 1996 brought project beneficiaries (or, perhaps, Project Affected Persons?) more water shortages, more choked drains, more diseases, more monsoon mess, and more cause to complain about the shoddy project infrastructureand poor quality of IDA’s work.39 In March 1997, when the project was to end, IDA held an emergency meeting and wrote to the chief minister and, persuaded by the state government, ODA extended the project by three months.40 Also in March 1997 local press reported rampant water contamination in the slums and imminent danger of malaria and dengue due to contamination in the ‘lake’ created in part of a main storm water drain to demonstrate citywide benefits of slum networking and much talked about in various award citations.41 In mid-1997 an impact assessment study, commissioned by none other than ODA, was carried out. This included a survey of nearly 600 families in ten systematically sampled slums. This professional survey found what lay persons in Indore already knew and award juries and study visits had failed to see.

Although individual toilet and water connections were the main features that set this ‘successful’ project apart, at the end of the project only a third of the households had toilet connections and only a sixth had private water supply. There were many reasons why people had not taken toilet connections, notably because they did not have any legal ownership rights of their homes (in spite of the existence—since 1984—of a unique state legislation granting tenure rights to hutment dwellers) and they did not have space. Three-fourths of those who had made toilets did not have private taps. In some cases no water mains had been installed even though sewage lines were in place and people had connected toilets to them.

Where water mains had been provided, inadequate water pressure was the main reason for not taking connections. Those who had made connections had lowered their taps to cope. During water supply hours heads and shoulders of men, women and children (ones that were at least 4 feet tall) could be seen above ground level as they stood in ‘pits’ that dotted the streets and filled water from lowered taps. There was significant ground water tapping, with local councilors ‘providing’ bore wells, usually with large tanks for community storage and occasionally with a piped network to shared taps. This appears to have had considerable political currency, though it did not augur well for ground water reserves, not to mention the absurd economics of having both an underground network of water pipes (provided under the project) and a network above the ground (provided through political intervention).

Meanwhile, since only a third of the families had connected to the underground sewage and most of these had no private taps and, presumably, were not according high priority to flushing toilets with the water they had to fetch from elsewhere, the underground drainage could not have attained self-cleansing velocity. The soft landscaping that was to have helped hold the soil back from flowing into the sewers had also not materialized, partly on account of inadequate water and partly because residents found it more useful to extend their tiny dwellings into the areas reserved for soft landscaping. Understandably, choked drainage had become the most visible outcome of the celebrated slum project.

Sewers were often overflowing on to the streets. In any case, the two-thirds of the houses that had not connected to the sewage line were discharging sullage on to the streets. In the absence of open drains (omitted on the assumption that all sewage and sullage would get piped and the rainwater would simply run off the innovatively designed street surfaces) the streets were, literally, a mess. The ‘river’ that the project had promised remained what it was—a polluted and stinking drain. The ‘lake’ that had been created in its midst at considerable expense after removing four settlements in public interest was no more than a cesspool.

All this was duly reported to ODA and others.42

* * *

In May 1997 IDA’s attention was drawn to the findings of the impact survey, but it denied the scale of the problem and attributed the alarming findings to a poor sample. It claimed there were no technical flaws and cited the international honours in support of this claim. However, at the end of the project IMC refused to take over. In June the mayor, municipal commissioner and IMC officers went on an inspection following complaints of sullage accumulation in homes. Angry residents confronted them and said that the ODA project infrastructure was a nuisance they did not want. The mayor directed his staff to pump the water out and bill the expenses to IDA.43 Four months later, following a similar problem in another slum, the municipal commissioner wrote to IDA to say this was not a maintenance issue and IDA should rectify technical defects and, pending that, make necessary arrangements for removal of sullage.44 Three weeks later, the mayor once again wrote to IDA, demanding rectification of drainage defects before handing slums over to IMC.45

On 12 November 1997 the municipal council did not admit an adjournment motion on outbreak of cholera in four slums under the project on the ground that these slums came under IDA. At an IDA meeting thereafter, officials said the slums were under IMC and there was no way in which open surface drains could now be provided in place of underground drainage, as had been suggested by IMC.46 On 13 November the divisional commissioner visited a number of these slums along with the mayor and officers from IDA and IMC and directed both agencies to prepare slum-level action plans for solving the drainage problem through joint effort.47

In March 1998, a local newspaper reported in detail the findings of a survey it had conducted in twenty-two project slums. The feature was titled ‘Conditions have not improved even after spending 600 million’.48 In April, another newspaper carried on its front page a report on the stink emanating from the ‘lake’ developed under the project. It said the stink was unbearable, the lakefront shopping complex had not been sold because of the stink and boating had to be stopped for the same reason. The CEO of IDA, however, denied that there was any bad odour and said, ‘What happens sometimes is that with a gust of wind bad odour is sensed’. The divisional commissioner also proclaimed there was no bad smell but, in view of the complaints, the administration was planning to install plants, drop some fish and open one of the sluice gates to allow some water to flow.49

In June 1998malaria and water-borne diseases took lives in the improved slums. Over half the drinking water samples gathered were found to be unsafe.50 The city authorities responded by distributing chlorine tablets, sachets of ORS and packets of bleaching powder. But people said this was no solution. The growing resentment manifested itself in an incident in one of the project slums where people hanged effigies of health officers as a mark of protest.51 The Indian Medical Association in Indore warned that diseases like hepatitis, typhoid and cholera could take on epidemic proportions if nothing was urgently done. The project works were roundly criticized.52

On 9 October 1998, a year after the official study had confirmed the alarming and tragic impacts that local newspapers had been reporting for over five years, in a glittering ceremony at the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, Indore’s slum project bagged the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. This was the seventh time the triennial award had been presented and the $500,000 prize fund marking the twentieth anniversary of the award made it the world’s largest and most prestigious. One of seven winning projects from over 420, the Slum Networking of Indore City won the award for ‘transforming the environment and improving the quality of life by providing a clean and liveable habitat for its citizens’.53 A literary award for the most creative adaptation of the Emperor’s New Clothes might have been equally much in order.

Making Policy

In 1997 the Urban Development Ministry (which had been responsible for including Indore’s slum project as national Best Practice for Habitat-II) asked HUDCO/HSMI (which had suggested this inclusion) to prepare a slum policy along with ODA (which had funded the Indore project) and Birmingham University (which had coordinated the project impact study). India’s Draft National Slum Policy (DNSP)—duly endorsed by NGOs at regional consultations—was circulated at the end of 1999. It suggested listing of slums and issuing identity cards to slum dwellers to make them eligible for slum improvement on tenable sites and resettlement from untenable ones. It defined ‘tenability’ in terms of ‘untenability’, which it defined in terms of ‘hazard to user’ or ‘public interest’. It spelled out strict conditions for resettlement and strongly advocated in-situ improvement. Besides a range of social services, it emphasized provision of individual infrastructure. It did have provisions for granting land tenure rights to slum dwellers, predicated upon streamlining acquisition in case of private land and conflict resolution in case of public land. Perhaps acknowledging the difficulties in this, it recommended improvement even without tenure. A substantial part of it dwelled on implementation in the spirit of the 74th Constitutional Amendment, which is about decentralization. All in all, what DNSP seemed to be leading to was large-scale slum upgrading, with individual infrastructure, with or without tenure through convergence, participation and such like—much like what had happened in Indore.

Although slum upgradation is a global paradigm with considerable currency, it is noteworthy that there is no conceptual or empirical basis to justify it as a permanent solution. Indeed this is no more than a paradigm on the rebound, so to speak. Slum upgradation became popular following problems with insensitive resettlement. Individual infrastructure in slums became popular following problems with community infrastructure. Interventions without clear tenure became popular following problems with granting tenure. After years of experimentation, there is no evidence to show these alternatives really work better than the ones they sought to improve upon. On the contrary, it is becoming clear that many times they don’t. Most slums ‘improved’ several years ago are still slums—albeit pucca instead of kutcha slums. In individual infrastructure provision different problems have surfaced due to wider capacity constraints and inherent complexity of operation and maintenance in high-density situations. Improvements carried out without tenure have brought an implicit promise of security (leading to investments by people)—a promise that has often not been kept (at great cost to the people). While provision of basic services in slums is essential from a basic rights perspective, in most cases it can only be seen as an interim solution pending interventions that are not just humane but also sensible and equitable.

The DNSP, however, is less of a slum policy and more of unstinted slum improvement advocacy. Throughout, the emphasis is on upgrading on an as-is-where-is basis, starting with the objectives, which are all about creating awareness and strengthening the legal and policy framework for ensuring universalization of this ‘model’.54 Even the section on resettlement begins with the statement that ‘this document primarily endorses and promotes an upgrading and improvement approach’.55 This emphasis subsumes all housing interventions for the poor as the DNSP says housing schemes for them ‘should be targeted at registered slum dwellers. In-situ upgradation should be given priority within such schemes.’56 Even as it admits that ‘slum development is still “trial and error”’, the DNSP does not dwell too much on lessons from the past. Instead it merely extrapolates the Indore model to a national strategy.57

The unsung tragedy of Indore is evidence enough that the DNSP is unlikely to serve the purpose for which it was needed. But poor policies do more harm than fail to deliver and it would be worthwhile to dwell a bit on the likely—and very worrying—consequences of this policy.

* * *

The most worrying likely consequence of the DNSP is slummification. Planning exclusively for the past, the DNSP says nothing about preventing slums. So they will keep growing. Then it wants to list ‘all under-serviced settlements’ as slums.58 So most built-up parts of Indian cities will become ‘listed slums’. Next it wants to facilitate ‘shelter upgradation’ in them. Now, this is an outcome of regularization or service provision or any other form of perceived tenure security and it is well known that unregulated shelter consolidation in puny plots in dense settlements results in detrimental impacts on quality of life. Yet, instead of as an outcome to be regulated, the DNSP wants to view this as a process to be facilitated. So all kutcha slums will become pucca slums. At the same time, the DNSP wants to declare slums ‘high-density, mixed land use’ areas, i.e., they that can have more dwelling units in a given area than are normally permitted under housing norms as well as shops, industries, etc. So areas that are under-serviced will become over-stressed.59 Well-serviced housing areas, on the other hand, will continue to be spared the problems attendant to coexistence ofhomes and commercial establishments. So we will see an exacerbation of citywide unbalanced mixed land use trends—aptly called ‘garbage dump syndrome’—of concentration in ‘slums’ of non-residential uses owned by people from all over the city, who can not or will not set these up in their own residential areas. Then the DNSP wants to install failure-prone infrastructure options. So we will have more expensive disasters like the ‘successful’ slum project in Indore.

The second likely and worrying consequence of the DNSP relates to distribution of urban land. Several legal and policy measures exist to improve land supply for the urban poor, such as reserving land for low-income housing through Master Plans or under development funding and licensing conditions, and through laws like the Land Ceiling Act to make available to the poorsurplus or idle land. However, tardy implementation of such measures in particular and inefficient design paradigms and vested interests in the use of urban land in general have combined to maintain and diminish the marginal shareholding of the urban poor in urban land. In many places it is estimated that a third to two-thirds of the urban population live in a tenth or less of the urban land—and that too in pockets that are the most marginal. From the perspective of land supply, slums are not so much the problem as the manifestation of the larger problem of inequitable land distribution. The DNSP also makes the right noises about equity. It speaks of ‘greater emphasis on equity and distributive justice’ and improved ‘resource allocation and use’.60 But having said this, it goes on to wholeheartedly advocate an option that directly endorses the notion that a majority section of the urban population must live in a very small share of urban land. It further recommends mixed land use in slums and use of community halls in them even for primary schools—meaning that work places of the poor and schools for their children will also remain confined to this meagre land. It does not even mind if some of this land, if of high value, is taken over by the private sector.61 It speaks of ‘supply/recycling’ of land for the poor—thereby offering governments an alternative to fresh land supply for them.62 Sure, it speaks of the need for ‘ensuring continuous supply’ and for new schemes to ‘make sufficient provision for land to house low income workers’.63 But it makes no reference to similar promises made (but not kept) in earlier policies, plans and laws and seems to condone past errors of omission and commission that have led to inequitable urban land distribution, and, thereby, to legitimize the resultant appalling inequity and its perpetuation.

The third likely consequence relates to ‘integration’. Expectedly, the DNSP pays a lot of lip service to this. The very first objective mentions ‘integration’. In-situ physical improvements are justified on the basis of the ‘fact’ that ‘evidence from existing slum improvement projects clearly shows that an improved physical environment greatly facilitates the integration of the settlement in the wider urban area’.64 In-situ social services are justified on the basis of the ‘fact’ that ‘effective delivery of these services would also reduce social inequities and promote integration of people residing in slums into the social and economic networks of the city as a whole’.65 There is even a separate section on ‘planning for integration’, which reiterates the need to ‘modify existing planning framework’ to ensure slums ‘can be properly integrated’.66 Even as it says all this, the DNSP wants slums (which are ultimately to be integrated) first to be ‘demarcated from regular planned neighbourhoods inhabited by better off residents’ and the slum residents to be registered.67 This, it says, is ‘to prevent ineligible beneficiaries being included in development programmes’, though nowhere does it specify who is ‘ineligible’ and why.68 Registered residents of slums are to be issued a ‘suitable identity card’.69 This ID (and not, say, the election ID card or for that matter other constitutional rights as a citizen) will make the (integrated) cardholder ‘automatically eligible to receive basic minimum services’.70 In the process of creating this distinctive ID for slum dwellers, the DNSP also envisages their whole-hearted participation in every stage of ‘improvement’, besides community contributions, user charges and even a consolidated service tax. In fact all that the poor are not expected to do is to refuse these priced ‘benefits’ or to opt to pay the same price for sensible settlement in reasonable sized plots in some decent location.

Finally, there is a matter that relates not just to the DNSP but to most social sector collaborative efforts of government, donors and NGOs. These efforts usually impose top-down global paradigms agreed to by ‘experts’ (read regular attendees of workshops, seminars, conventions and conferences) . They then piously plead for ‘participation’ by communities and local bodies in implementation of these pre-determined paradigms. ‘Empowered’ with long lists of responsibilities, local bodies and people are then offered ‘partnership’ of the wider ‘civil society’, which—irrespective of whether it is driven by charity or enlightened self-interest or donor funding—is basically not accountable to the people or local bodies. The DNSP also envisages a substantive role for civil society (including withtax concessions and other incentives) in areas that could, and should be, handled by government in a welfare state. And it does so without suggesting even the need for, leave alone details of, a system of checks and balances to ensure quality, competence or accountability. The fact that slums have been reduced to a vote bank of politicians was bad enough. To make them the constituencies of do-gooders driven to do good only when and for as long as it pleases them—through no less than a national policy in a welfare state—is, surely, a bit too much.

Unmaking Policy

Perhaps the only section of the DNSP that absolutely everyone would have appreciated is the one on resettlement—not because it has anything brilliant to say about resettlement but because it spells out guidelines to stop willful and painful summary evictions.

Alternatives to resettlement should be fully explored before any decision is taken to move people. Relocation distances should be minimized to reduce the impact on livelihoods. Resident dwellers must be provided with some choice of alternative sites and where feasible, an alternative rehabilitation package. All resettlement sites should be adequately serviced and provision should be made for public transportation prior to settlement. The livelihoods of affected people must be sufficiently compensated within a fixed period. Participation of primary stakeholders, particularly women, in planning and decision making is a pre-requisite for any resettlement process. Women’s particular needs and constraints must be specifically addressed. Any urban development project that leads to the involuntary resettlement of communities must make provision to cover the costs of R&R. All stages of the resettlement process including the transition and follow-up periods should be closely monitored and supervised by the ULB with community representatives.71

This is more than what the most vocal anti-eviction agitators have ever asked, more than what the most generous courts have ever ruled, and more than what the most caring projects have ever designed. And this wish list was in no less than the draft of the national slum policy of India. Surely that meant there would be no more summary evictions—at least not by those who wrote the policy or without strong protests by those who had endorsed it.

* * *

The last date for sending comments on the DNSP to the Urban Development Ministry was mid- January 2000. The unmaking of the policy began a month after that, when the Supreme Court of India, in a public interest litigation (PIL) on garbage management in Indian cities, ordered slums and litter to be removed from the capital.72

The apex court noted that Delhiites were increasingly suffering from ‘respiratory and other diseases, the river Yamuna is highly polluted, and garbage and untreated domestic and industrial waste is being either freely dumped into the said river or is left on open land.’ It further noted that ‘when a large number of inhabitants live in unauthorized colonies, with no proper means of dealing with the domestic effluents, or in slums with no care for hygiene, the problem becomes more complex.’ It felt that ‘creation of slums resulting in increase in density has to be prevented’. It observed that ‘creating of slums appears to be good business and that promise of free land in place of a jhuggi attracts land grabbers’. It remarked, ‘rewarding an encroacher on public land with [a] free alternate site is like giving a reward to a pickpocket’. It ordered appropriate steps to improve sanitation in existing slums ‘till they are removed’.

The history of this order goes back perhaps a decade. In 1994, in Bangalore, the municipality was dumping garbage on the outskirts of the city because it had run out of dumping sites. One Almitra Patel set about trying to solve the problem around her farm and soon found it was not possible without solving it for the city. Around the same time, in Chennai, Exnora (an organization known for its garbage management initiatives) was born with Captain Velu as a member. In October 1994, Velu, Almitra and one of her neighbours in slogan-emblazoned jumpsuits drove a banner-covered red van into the municipal offices of twenty-nine cities, collecting data on garbage management. In 1995 Velu and Almitra went on a second trip, eventually covering sixty-three municipalities. In December 1996 Almitra filed a PIL in the Supreme Court. In January 1998, the court appointed a committee and, based on its report, the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued draft rules for Municipal Solid Waste Management and Handling in September 1999.73 It was while monitoring the progress made by various cities in relation to this PIL that the apex court gave orders (in February 2000) that were quite contrary to what the DNSP (circulated at the end of 1999) had suggested.

In the same order, the court directed authorities in Delhi, ‘the capital of the biggest democracy in the world’ to keep the city ‘at least reasonably clean’ by, among other things, levying fines on those who littered. Let us digress a bit to dwell on what followed this direction.

For Delhi, where the court had in recent times ordered authorities to do their job regarding vehicular pollution, river pollution, industrial relocation, etc, this was another reminder of ‘repeated failures of the government on one hand, and the continuous march of the judiciary in areas of governance, on the other’.74 A city editor wrote, ‘Delhi needs a Thanksgiving Day. To thank the Supreme Court…’.75 From the authorities there was ‘correct’ optimism. The chief of New Delhi Municipal Committee (NDMC) was optimistic because ‘Indians who go abroad are quick to adapt to anti-littering laws’ and Delhi’s chief minister, Sheila Dikshit, was optimistic because her government was ‘serious about cleaning up the city’ and the court ‘had strengthened its hands’.76 Then there was a prevaricating discussion on whether fining was practical and possible under the Municipal Act (whereby sanitary inspectors only issue challans and offenders appear before a magistrate to pay).77 Then Sheila Dikshit said her government would launch a three-month campaign. Her emphasis, as always, was on citizens’ participation—‘youth and student community, residents’ welfare associations, industry bodies and schoolchildren’, besides some ‘celebrities like (singer) Daler Mehndi and (designer) Ritu Beri’.78 There was also an acrimonious debate on who would implement what the court had ordered. The mayor said that this was the job of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), not the Delhi government, and that the municipal commissioner would prepare a comprehensive report.79 In his report, the commissioner said sanitation staff would also sweep on Sundays and holidays and advertisements would be put in newspapers to warn people.80

The MCD figured out that sanitary superintendents could collect Rs 50, not as a fine but as cost for disposing of dumped garbage and NDMC was planning special uniforms for its superintendents. MCD’s drive got off in first gear in March 2000. Twelve superintendents were deputed—without vehicles and in addition to their normal duties—to penalize litterbugs in 1400 square km of municipal area.81 Three thousand new yellow and green bins were to be installed and two days spent on educating shopkeepers.82 It was soon clear that shopkeepers were manageable, but superintendents could do nothing if ‘mobile’ litterbugs refused to pay.83 They kept fining mainly petty shopkeepers with, naturally, no significant impact on either litter or attitude towards litter.84 They did collect Rs 24,000 in fines by the end of June, but this was, perhaps, a pittance compared with the costs incurred on collecting it and, in any case, not the intention behind the court order.85 In August, the court castigated MCD for its lethargic efforts and directed it to start door-to-door garbage collection, as was being done in Bangalore.86 When MCD submitted that such a scheme tried out in 1996 in some localities had failed, the court commented that it was because it was not with enthusiastic public participation as in Bangalore.87 MCD promptly shifted gears to comply with the latest court orders. Leaving litterbugs to litter, door-to-door collection was started in some areas after deploying seventy trucks mounted with loudspeakers (presumably for enthusiastically soliciting participation).88

In September 1999, in a different PIL, the Delhi High Court restricted the use of slow moving tractor trolleys, resulting in a crisis for MCD, which was using these for removal of debris and silt.89 The major problems with solid waste management in Delhi, in fact, related not to collection but to transportation and disposal. A study carried out in 1997 had found transportation capacity constrained because many vehicles needed replacement or were not designed for refuse transportation or were being sub-optimally deployed.90 It had also found that the incinerator-cum-power generation plant set up in 1989 was not functional and one of two composting plants had closed down in 1992 and the second was functioning at a fifth of its capacity.91 Solid waste disposal was mainly by way of sanitary land fill on four MCD sites, none of which were operating according to a long-term plan and the capacity of all would soon be exhausted.92 In February 2000, the Delhi government ‘announced’ it would set up ten composting plants, but did not have the land yet.93 Uptil then MCD had only ‘sought five new sites’ for landfill, though it was proudly greening used up sites.94 By mid-2000 the Delhi government was still ‘zeroing on sites’ and planning composting plants, though Sheila Dikshit did distribute some ‘environment-friendly scientific garbage collection rickshaws’ with green and yellow bins to some housing societies on World Environment Day.95

Obviously, fining litterbugs or collecting garbage door-to-door would not go very far. At best, MCD would end up dumping garbage collected from public bins (after litterbugs were disciplined) and private doorsteps (with full participation and with or without scientific rickshaws) around another Almitra’s farm.

It was unfortunate that slums got painted culprits in this scenario. It is true that piles of garbage are visibly higher in slum areas. This is not because slum dwellers are worse offenders but because they tend to be left out of the purview of municipal sanitation services. Further, slum dwellers score higher than non-slum dwellers in terms of the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ mantra of waste management. The amount of solid waste they generate is far less, if only because they can afford lower consumption levels. And reuse and recycle are the norm rather than the exception, common practice rooted in necessity rather than contrived occasional ‘best practices’ rooted in fashion. Also, it is the reuse and recycling efforts of armies of ragpickers—incidentally also slum dwellers—that contribute significantly not only to material savings but also to reduction in transport and disposal loads on overburdened solid waste management systems in our cities. Remove the ragpickers from the garbage handling system and each one of our cities will be buried that much deeper in filth because most of the rest of the citizenry simply does not know how to deal with its garbage, except in sanitized seminar environs. But be all this as it may, in February 2000 the Supreme Court of India ordered both slums and litter to go.

* * *

At least three other cases of court orders for slum clearance made national news around the same time.

In a PIL seeking removal of slums along railway lines in Delhi, the Delhi High Court issued directions to Northern Railways in December 1999. In March 2000, the Railways issued eviction notices to residents in Wazirpur slum, just one of over a thousand slums in Delhi.96 With the Congress in power in Delhi, any eviction initiative by the BJP-led coalition government at the Centre was material for vote-bank politics. Sheila Dikshit wrote to Railway minister Mamta Banerjee asking her to first device a rehabilitation plan in consultation with the Delhi government.97 Mamta Banerjee being from a non-Left party in Bengal (a traditional Left stronghold) and Wazirpur being an industrial area (with some Left presence) made the matter meatier. But it was the arrival of former Prime Minister V.P. Singh on the scene—during whose tenure at the turn of the 1990s slum dwellers had been issued ID cards entitling them to resettlement benefits—that made it politically sensational.

In a most dramatic emergence from political hibernation, a couple of hours after a routine dialysis, V.P. Singh arrived in Wazirpur on demolition eve to declare jihad against evictions. He announced to a large gathering of slum dwellers, ‘I will stay with you tonight in your time of need. Together we will brave any bulldozer, any bullet or lathi which tries to demolish a jhuggi’'.98 Taken by surprise, Mamta Banerjee issued instructions to defer the demolition.99 V.P. Singh said this was a victory for the poor.100 With other former PMs and others, he met the prime minister, who referred the matter to the Urban Development Minister, Jagmohan.101 Jagmohan’s said that under Delhi’s slum policy the land owning agency had to pay for rehabilitation, but since the Railways had no policy to compensate the slum dwellers removed from its land, he would take up the matter with Mamata Banerjee.102 In May 2000, the high court was told that the urban development and railway ministries were coordinating at the ministerial level to identify an alternative site to shift the residents of Wazirpur.103

A similar story unfolded in Mumbai. In a PIL filed by Citizens for a Just Society (CFAJS), the Bombay High Court ordered the Central Railways to demolish encroachments in the safety zone of suburban tracks.104 There were nearly 12,000 huts within 30 feet on the suburban lines.105 These settlements hamper proper drainage along the tracks, leading to water logging, which loosens the soil beneath the tracks. And trains have to share tracks with children who have nowhere else to play and people who have nowhere else to ease themselves. The risk of accidents resulted in reduced train speeds.106 A letter from the Railway Commissioner of Safety threatening to suspend services on the Harbour Line (connecting Mumbai and Navi Mumbai) if the safety zone was not cleared is indicative of the extent of risk.107 Following this letter and the court’s orders, a drive was started at the end of February 2000 to demolish huts that had come up after 1995 (the state’s cut-off date for regularizing slums).108

Over a thousand huts were demolished by 4 March.109 Some of those evicted claimed they had been around before 1995. Maharashtra’s housing minister, Rohidas Patil, ‘thundered that the Railways had “stabbed him in the back”’.110 Congress leaders ‘forced the government to stop providing police protection to the demolition squad’.111 The Railways had to suspend the drive till SPARC (an NGO that had filed an intervention) demarcated post-1995 huts.112 SPARC went about its survey and the Railways went about removing debris.113

CFAJS lambasted Rohidas Patil for derailing the drive and objected vehemently to SPARC’s intervention. It said that the court in an earlier hearing had declined SPARC’s offer to raise funds for house construction after the state provided land and infrastructure. The court had observed that SPARC was not a builder. CFAJS, on the basis of its scrutiny of SPARC’s accounts, alleged ‘reason to question the credentials of an organization with expenditure of this nature’.114 It informed the court that the chief secretary had held a meeting on 3 March with the Railways, state officials and SPARC. In this meeting it had been decided that huts eligible for resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) would be resettled under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), being negotiated with the World Bank, and pre-1995 huts not eligible for R&R would be reconstructed in-situ with building material assistance from the Railways. This, CFAJS submitted, showed ‘the government is ignoring and neglecting the earlier HC order’. It said MUTP negotiations had been going on for a decade and linking MUTP to removal of railway land encroachers was unwise.115 It said the state’s cut off date was not applicable to railway land, only declared slums are entitled to rehabilitation under the state Slum Act, and huts along tracks are encroachments, not slums.116 It referred to the Supreme Court ruling that giving an encroacher a free alternate site ‘is like giving a reward to a pick-pocket’.117 From the point of view of commuters also, it was hardly relevant if a hutment along the track was pre- or post-1995.118

On 7 June, the high court ruled that removal of encroachers from the safety zone need not be linked to rehabilitation policy.119 The government filed an affidavit saying demolitions without rehabilitation would jeopardize MUTP.120 All it wanted was some land from the Railways. The Railways said it would follow court orders and not World Bank diktat and was willing to throw out encroachers by the end of the year. SPARC said the Railways ‘behaved differently in court, but were cooperative in meetings’. The court wondered if it would be right to give Railway encroachers the status of Project Affected Persons.121 The demolitions, suspended during monsoons, recommenced in September. The government was committed to rehabilitate only the 4,300 pre-1995 hutments by end of January 2001in phases.122

In 1997, also in Mumbai, in response to another PIL filed by Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG), the Bombay High Court had given detailed directions for clearance of slums from Sanjay Gandhi National Park. By 31 December 1999, the deadline set by the court, less than 500 families had joined the rehabilitation scheme. In beginning March 2000, the court ordered clearance of all slums in the Park by 21 March. While allowing the slum dwellers some more time to pay Rs 7000 towards rehabilitation, the court said that slum-dwellers were ‘not entitled to anything’ and should be glad they were getting an alternate place at such low cost.123

Slum dwellers ‘vandalised the BJP and Congress offices’ to protest against the failure of these parties to help them.124 They ‘created a ruckus in the court’ and had to be ordered out. The BEAG told the court they had been brought there by Nivara Hakk Suraksha Samiti (NHSS), an NGO, which had sent the BEAG a letter after the last order, pointing out that demolishing 33,000 huts would displace 200,000 people and proposed their rehabilitation on the Park periphery. The court, taking serious note of this, directed the government to investigate the antecedents of P.K. Das, joint convener of NHSS.125

Two days after the courtroom drama, at the YMCA, a US-based community activist on a month-long visit to Mumbai to ‘educate slum dwellers on their basic right’ showed them a video on ‘how their brethren in Boston rallied and fought with government authorities’. Commenting on their demonstration in the court, he said, ‘They have taken a step in the right direction’. At the same forum, a retired high court judge released the Indian People’s Tribunal (IPT) report on recent slum demolitions in Indore. Advocate Maharukh Adenwalla, a member of the IPT team, said the report was ‘a reflection of the governmental attitude in all states’.126

At the end of March, P.K. Das said in a newspaper interview that huts ‘facing demolition account for four lakh people’ and reiterated NHSS’s view that ‘land on the Park periphery should be used for rehabilitating them’.127 In April, film actress and Member of Parliament Shabana Azmi, also head of NHSS, met Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and urged him to pass a law to resolve the uncertain situation in which slum dwellers were living.128 Politicians from various parties also approached the chief minister in the matter. Some suggested that ‘government should ask the court to delete the area occupied by the dwellers from the forest map’.129 V.P. Singh also wrote to the chief minister. At a public meeting organized by NHSS, he announced he would block bulldozers and urged slum dwellers to do the same. Shabana Azmi urged women to take the lead.130

At the end of April, hearing an intervention petition by residents in another portion of the Park challenging inclusion of their land as forestland even after it was de-reserved in 1965, the court granted them a stay.131 But (despite protests and rallies and political and NGO interventions) demolitions in the rest of the sprawling Park continued for several days amidst tight police security.132 Meanwhile (possibly because of protests and rallies and political and NGO interventions) only 6,000 families had paid up to join the relocation scheme and the rest now faced homelessness.

In early April a group of affected residents had filed an appeal in the supreme court. Ram Naik, Union minister and MP from north Mumbai, told newspapers that ownership of a lot of forestland was disputed, the Forest Act was enacted only in 1980, the Park was declared a forest only in 1995, most huts existed before 1980 and the corporation had provided them civic amenities. He said the appeal filed in the apex court prayed for a stay to enable slum dwellers to represent their case properly.133 On 8 May, the supreme court rejected the appeal.134

* * *

Through all this, not one reference was made to the DNSP’s exhaustive provisions for resettlement. Instead, every slum saviour was making his or her own ‘original’ demand for policy, even as the DNSP not only existed but also offered more than what any of these good men and women were singly or as an assemblage demanding. At a press conference at the end of March 2000, V.P. Singh had demanded a national policy to ensure that ‘alternate lands were allotted to slum dwellers whenever they were evicted’.135 Again, in mid-April, he said, ‘no proper policy had been developed by the Government for the procedure to be adopted in relocating jhuggi dwellers’.136 In a newspaper article he wrote later in April he said, ‘An all India policy should be announced.’137 The rally organized by his Jan Chetna Manch in Delhi in May was also meant to be ‘an endeavour to pressure the Government to re-work the housing policy incorporating the duties of the State towards slum dwellers’.138 The former PM not only stressed the need for a national slum policy, he said he had conveyed the need for a slum policy to the present PM who had also admitted the need for a slum policy.139 Addressing his well-attended rally, V.P. Singh ‘gave a year’s notice to the Government to develop a national policy on slums’.140 Ironically, at exactly the same time, the convener of a federation of Delhi NGOs, working closely enough with V.P. Singh to have co-authored Jan Chetna Manch’s ‘discussion paper’ had called a national meeting to discuss the DNSP.141

Likewise, in April, in Mumbai, Shabana Azmi asked the state government to come out with a slum policy even as the DNSP (which already incorporated NHSS’s ‘demand’ for proximous relocation) was being discussed at a seminar in the same city in the same week.142 What SPARC was doing (demarcating post- and pre-1995 slums), on the other hand, was not in the spirit of the DNSP, which suggests continuing registration rather than approaches based on cut-off dates.143

The matter of slums on railway land in both Delhi and Mumbai, for instance, might have been settled to greater advantage of slum dwellers if anyone had taken the DNSP seriously. For slums on central governmentland (including Railway land), the DNSP suggests a process for ‘conflict resolution’ in which the Urban Development Ministry is to ‘play a pro-active role in resolving disputes’ so that, among other things, ‘R&R activities can be negotiated more effectively’.144 Under the slum policy that the Urban Development Ministry itself had drafted, in both these cases it should have led the process of ‘conflict resolution’ to ensure adequate R&R in line with its policy. Instead, Urban Development Minister Jagmohan merely re-stated the conflict when he said for Wazirpur that Delhi’s slum policy requiring land-owning agencies to contribute towards R&R did not match Railways’ policy in respect of encroachments. And, even after the DNSP, the ‘concern’ for Wazirpur’s slum dwellers arose not out of our slum policy but because of the personal intervention of our former PM. Likewise, the contention in Mumbai that the state R&R policy did not apply to central land was a re-statement of the conflict that the DNSP sought to resolve. And the ‘concern’ for slum dwellers arose not out of our slum policy, but because of the R&R insistence of the World Bank.

The Indian Railways owns 4.2 lakh hectares of land, mostly in narrow strips along tracks, which is home to a sizeable section of the slum population.145 Indeed, the Railways is a singularly appropriate central agency for the Urban Development Ministry to start with the ‘pro-active role’ in ‘conflict resolution’ under DNSP. Moreover, an opportunity arose when the Railways, having decided on a populist budget envisaging revenue generation through non-tariff measures, signed an MoU for joint property development with HUDCO in January 2000, days after the DNSP was circulated.146 HUDCO Chairman V. Suresh, who had been personally involved in drafting the DNSP, signed the MoU in the presence of Jagmohan as well as the then Minister of State for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation S.S. Dhindsa, whose officers had just circulated the DNSP. But none of the policy makers saw fit to build into this MoU measures to ensure the ‘conflict resolution’ the DNSP envisaged. Nor did any NGOs (involved in drafting it) draw attention to these possibilities. Just as they said nothing when an elderly and ailing former PM took to sitting in front of bulldozers in the capital to ask the government to stop doing what the DNSP already forbade and demand a policy when the DNSP already existed. But V.P. Singh was doing more than being ill informed. He was making out a case not only against demolitions, but also for special ration cards for the poor so that they could get rations at half price. Both these were issues that concerned the poor the most. A columnist noted V.P. Singh had ‘usurped the poor’s agenda from the Congress, which has the government in Delhi and the NDA, which has the government at the Centre’.147

In the capital’s politics (euphemistically called governance) it was not the ill-informed nature of V.P. Singh’s demands but the political threat they posed that evoked an even more absurd ‘policy’ response. In May 2000, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, while laying the foundation for a state-of-the-art flyover, expressed anguish over the unfairness of the fact that the rich were building huge structures while the poor did not have shelter. She said, ‘every time poor slum dwellers are uprooted they should be provided with alternative dwelling place’, adding, ‘I hope the Delhi Government will work towards this’.148 On cue, the Delhi government announced a ‘new’ slum policy the following day.149

Delhi already had an ‘old’ slum policy with a ‘three-pronged’ approach. Where the land owning agency does not need the land under slums, plots are reconstituted to generate a planned layout with tiny plots as a ‘permanent’ solution. Where the land owning agency does not need the land immediately but wants to keep its options open, the Slum Department provides minimum services (brick paving, community taps or pumps and community toilets). Where the land owning agency wants the land immediately, it has to contribute towards resettlement and the Slum Department, after collecting contributions from slum dwellers as well, puts in its share and develops alternative tiny plots wherever it is given land.

The ‘new’ policy only spoke of resettlement, extending the cut-off date from 1990 to 1998 and increasing the plot size from 18 to 20 square metres. To get an idea of what this is worth, consider, one, that there are about 600,000 slum families in Delhi and, two, relocation of about 6,000 in the previous year was ‘a record of sorts’.150 Under the ‘old’ policy it would take a hundred years to resettle existing slum families. The ‘new’ policy, with marginally larger plot sizes and a later ‘cut-off date’, would stretch this a little longer.

Meanwhile, this ‘new’ policy was different from the DNSP to the extent that it said nothing about the R&R process and nothing about slum upgradation. Any doubts that it was anything but a reaction to V.P. Singh’s intervention in the Congress vote bank were put to rest with Sheila Dikshit announcing a sammelan (meeting) of jhuggi residents. She said the idea was to tell slum dwellers what the policy had to offer.151 To most, it was obvious the idea was to match V.P. Singh’s rally tally.

There was also a cheeky report on the ‘encroachment policy’ that the Delhi government had promised a year ago. The chief minister’s office said the policy just announced was ‘a slum policy and encroachment policy combined’. Principal Secretary Suman Swaroop said the slum policy deals only with jhuggis and the Land Department must be drafting the encroachment policy. Minister of Land and Building Parvez Hashmi said, ‘Yes, yes… It will be ready in 15 to 20 days.’ Additional Secretary Asha Nayar in the Land Department said, ‘A policy on encroachment? No we are not drafting it.’152

And, no one pointed out that the DNSP had been disregarded in what was the first slum policy making exercise after the DNSP—not the union ministry or HUDCO in Delhi, nor the Delhi NGOs ‘involved’ in drafting it, nor the British High Commissioner who called on Sheila Dikshit days after she announced a slum policy that completely ignored the national policy drafted with the wholehearted cooperation of the British government’s aid agency.153

Jagmohan, meanwhile, had turned his attention to unauthorized additions and alterations in DDA flats which are home to a sizeable proportion of the middle income population—and BJP’s vote bank— in Delhi. MPs from Delhi (all of them at that time, including Jagmohan, were of the BJP) were extremely agitated. Two days after the Delhi government announced its ‘new’ slum policy, they issued statements urging BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP Home Minister LK Advani to stop Jagmohan’s ‘senseless’ demolitions of ‘small deviations’ in DDA flats. They also sought, by the way, from the PM a housing policy for Delhi ‘specially in respect to dwelling units in jhuggi clusters’.154 Three days later they met the PM about demolitions in DDA flats and came out and told the press ‘those living in jhuggi clusters should be relocated’ and ‘each family so dislocated would be given around 25 square metres.’155 This was all of 5 square meters more than what the Delhi government had just announced. In effect, the BJP MPs were airing their personal views, with no reference to their government’s national policy or the policy announced by the duly elected Delhi government.

Of course, the DNSP was just a ‘draft’. It was not binding on state governments. Nor was it fair to expect all politicians and ministries in the central government to know of it. But surely even a ‘draft’ policy drawn up by the Urban Development Ministry through its own public sector undertaking HUDCO could be considered binding on them. Yet, in mid-2000, six months after circulating the DNSP, these two arms of the government came together to disregard it in the largest post-DNSP slum intervention—relocation of 60,000 slum dwellers from various places in Delhi to Narela, planned since 1962 to be a self-contained sub-city but yet to be developed as such. The resettlement was the brainchild of Jagmohan and HUDCO was helping with designing it, giving construction loans and forming women’s groups for recovering them.156

The provisions of the DNSP were all contravened in the Narela resettlement project. The DNSP recommends that alternatives to resettlement should be fully explored before any decision is taken to shift people, but people were moved even from sites meant for residential use. They were evicted to a site miles away from their current locations, during the monsoon, under a nothing-but-Narela option even though DNSP states that relocation distances should be minimized and a choice of alternative sites must be provided. The DNSP also requires that all resettlement sites be adequately serviced and provision for public transportation be made prior to settlement. But even after relocation, the area was still ‘being developed’ and there were serious water and power problems. Long after people had been shifted, the minister said the ‘police commissioner has been requested to set up a police chowki’, the first ‘secondary school with an elegant design is coming up’ and that the transport minister had ‘assured (him) that bus service would be augmented’. The DNSP speaks of sufficient compensation for livelihoods; but the only options on offer were jobs in non-conforming industries yet to come up in the industrial area yet to be developed. The DNSP requires participation of primary stakeholders, particularly women, in planning and decision making and the resettlement process to be closely monitored and supervised with community representatives. But community organization by way of forming mahila mandals started only after relocation.

The Delhi Urban Development Minister A. K. Walia visited Narela with senior officials a couple of days after the relocation started. After his ‘survey’, he said the relocation had been done haphazardly and basic amenities were not available. He said, ‘It is not practical to relocate the slums on the outskirts’ as this ‘only encourages the slum dwellers to sell the plots and return’. He demanded that the union government grant immediate permission for in-situ upgradation of all slum clusters.157 In October, three months after its minister had demanded in-situ upgradation, the Delhi government reiterated its slum relocation policy and sent it to the union government for approval.158

In November 2000, while inaugurating an international conference on Housing for the Poor in Mumbai, Jagmohan announced that the union government would soon come out with a policy to tackle the proliferation of slums. V. Suresh was also present at the conference.159 In January 2001 the union Urban Development Ministry (again with HUDCO) prepared the national report for the Istanbul+5 UNCHS (Habitat) Conference. The report made no mention of the DNSP (despite the consultative process by which it was made) nor the Indore slum project (which had promised to put us on the fast lane to slum-free cities). It did however mention the Narela resettlement scheme as a ‘happy example of relocation and rehabilitation’.160

In the midst of all this, on 24 August 2000, Almitra Patel, on the basis of whose PIL on garbage the supreme court had ruled cleaning and clearing of slums, ‘submitted to the Court a brief note and table of Myth vs Reality on slum issues’. On the basis of this brief note and table the apex court granted Almitra Patel, who had come to it with a petition on garbage management, permission to prepare and submit an Action Plan for Slum-Free Cities.161 It did seem like national policy making had been reduced to just a routine exercise in word-processing, photocopying, spiral-binding, distributing and discussing at ‘consultations’—fashionable but illusory fabrication that made tailors look busy but left the Emperor naked.

Start New Game

The Urban Development Ministry, based on reports prepared by HUDCO, had nominated Indore’s slum project for the UN Global Best Practice Award in 1996. HUDCO, on behalf of the Urban Development Ministry, had veritably extrapolated it into a draft national policy by 1999. In November 2000, by which time policy makers had reduced national (slum) policy making to a forgettable farce, the Urban Development Minister Jagmohan and HUDCO Chairman V. Suresh visited Indore.

For Indore Municipal Corporation, which was defaulting on World Bank loans, the efforts of BJP Mayor Kailash Vijaywargiya and BJP MP Sumitra Mahajan to bring the go-getter urban development minister along with the premier funding agency’s chairperson to Indore were full of promise.162 Around the same time, Indore also received the attention of the World Bank (through its Urban Management Programme) and USAID (directly and through its FIRE project) along with several NGOs to start new ‘games of development’. The IMC was keen to show Jagmohan and Suresh major problem areas, including lack of amenities in slums and pollution in the ‘river’.163 This was even as Indore was slum-free, with a clean river flowing through it, according to the claims of the Ministry and its premier public sector undertaking. The truth, of course, was different and did not escape the notice of the visiting dignitaries, if only because Jagmohan, in his inimitable style, chose to take stock of the city’s problems not at meetings but through first-hand visits to various places on both the days he spent in Indore. In the very first slum he visited, Jagmohan was told that despite the ODA project people were living in hellish conditions and was shown knee-deep slush on the streets (where there should have been ‘innovative roads-as-storm-water-drains’).164 In the next slum, a woman insisted he see the muck in the drains (where there should have been only duly piped sewage and sullage) and Sumitra Mahajan had to intervene. A little further, people insisted that he walk on the filthy street (where there should have been landscaping and pretty tree-guards) and Kailash Vijawargiya had to intervene.165 The next morning Jagmohan heard women’s water woes as they filled water from a tank (when they should have had private taps at home).166 Jagmohan was ‘most pained’ by the sight of the nalla (which should have been a clean river).167

Jagmohan made several promises.168 The Urban Development Ministry would coordinate with other ministries to secure approvals and funds for the multi-faceted development of Indore. HUDCO would provide cheap loans for housing and infrastructure. It would also provide Rs 25 lakh for setting up a building centre to develop low cost technology and provide designs and financial assistance to IMC to develop a millenium park in 30 acres and a scheme for water and waste management. Financial assistance would be provided to strengthen Pitri Parvat—a commemorative tree plantation scheme—in which Jagmohan planted saplings in the memory of his parents. In an unauthorized colony that Jagmohan had visited, there would be a ‘pilot project’ with a grant of Rs 35 lakh from HUDCO’s Ideal Slum Scheme and soft loan assistance of Rs 2 crore from central schemes. In one of the ODA slums Jagmohan visited, he was very impressed— not by the ODA project, but by the work of a charitable organization, Sewa Bharti—and not for slum improvement ‘hardware’ but by the absence of alcoholism and child labour, etc.169.The Minister said several more such endeavours were needed to make Indore an ideal city.170 V. Suresh also praised the slum the minister praised.171 HUDCO assistance for more such efforts was announced; HUDCO was even going to open an office in Indore.172

Jagmohan said he was ‘pained’ to see the city’s slums, but he did not take HUDCO to task for its ostrich-like denial of the reality of Indore’s slum project. Instead he spoke of relocation of huts that were along the nalla and of creating a green belt along it.173 Ironical, since it was precisely the location of slums along natural drainage channels which formed the basis of the slum networking concept applied in Indore and which had been put on a pedestal by his ministry and HUDCO. And unfair, for doubly damning the slum dwellers with the implicit threat of evictions even after they had made investments in the wake of the celebrated slum project.

Jagmohan said, ‘in view of limited resources, slum development is possible through willpower and community participation’.174 V. Suresh said slums ‘can be developed with the help of communities’.175 For the Urban Development Ministry and HUDCO these must have been routine announcements during a routine ‘successful’ visit. For the ‘community’, whose participation they had been claiming and misery they had been celebrating for nearly five years, these statements could only have brought utter despair and loss of a last hope. Undoubtedly, the Emperor in Indore knew not only was he naked, but also that the shifting games of governance had left him thus.

* * *

The tale of Indore’s celebrated slum project and the draft national slum policy that resulted from it after wide consultations is a terrible tale. Faking success out of a civic disaster and making and unmaking national policy on a day-by-day political expediency basis is pathetic. But the greater pathos is that this terrible tale is by no means unique; so many slum saviours coming and going with note banks and vote banks larger than what they came with while slums remain is evidence of this. For those who watch from the sidelines the ludic histrionics of civil society and governments as they ‘play’ with the ‘slum problem’, the patterns of these games can be very absorbing. The players and alliances keep changing as do rules and strategies. But after each game, sooner or later and quite irrespective of the players’ tall claims of its impact, the board is restored pretty much to status quo ante for a new game. And the ‘slum problem’ seems to have become a goose that lays the golden egg— no one wants to kill. There may be some doubt about which player/alliance gets to keep the egg, but there is no doubt at all that, in the scheme of things that is current, the goose will thrive.

The Great Terrain Robbery

Sickly Cow was feeding at the Municipal Garbage Dump, its posterior blocking the road. The Lord of Contemporary Urban Development happened to pass by. Surprised, The Lord asked ‘Why are you not in your Meadow?’ Surprised, Sickly Cow asked, ‘My Meadow?’ and looked in the direction of Fence. Following its gaze, The Lord said, ‘Ah! Fence minds your Meadow. It has settled milch cows, quality excreta is used to grow grass and milk sales will bring revenue. It has also let in some imported pigs to help mind your Meadow.’

Just then a car screeched to a halt and, what with all the nervousness on account of the Lord and the Car, Sickly Cow eased itself on the road. Exasperated, the Lord asked, ‘Why are you not in the Meadow? Why are you obstructing traffic and messing up the place?’ Confused, Sickly Cow stammered, ‘My Lord, but Fence…’ The Lord cut Sickly Cow short and said, ‘Don’t whine about Fence. If you don’t like Fence, change Fence. But leave the Dump and go live in the Meadow or… die.’ So saying, The Lord left.

Sickly Cow went to Fence and said, ‘My Lord has said I must be in the Meadow’. Fence rolled its eyes heavenwards and said, ‘My Lord wants the moon! The Meadow is full. Chaps here want larger plots and lots for calves and piglets. Even the expansion scheme is full.’ Sickly Cow was persistent. ‘My Lord said otherwise I will die.’ Fence was dismissive. ‘Pah! You are managing fine at the Dump.’ Sickly Cow was insistent, ‘My Lord said you, Fence, are for me and I can change you’. Fence sized up Sickly Cow and said, ‘Do you have a leader or celebrity to speak for you? Send her over and I will see what I have to do.’

Sickly Cow came away and told all other Sickly Cows what the Lord had said and what Fence had said. Next morning they arrived in hundreds. Fence was alarmed at their numbers. Friends of Fence said not to worry. ‘They are just a mob without a leader’. On cue Old Fence, hanging around the Meadow ever since the last fence changing, looked up, drooled over the sea of Sickly Cows, amiably ambled to the head of the mob and announced, ‘This New Fence here has eaten up all your grass and driven you to the Dump’. New Fence saw thousands of pairs of accusing cow eyes turn upon it and stammered, ‘No, dear cows, it was Old Fence that ate up your grass. If it weren’t for the pigs I myself would starve…’ New Fence and Old Fence began trading charges. Sickly Cows became righteously riotous. Milch cows and imported pigs looked on from the Meadow. Other Sickly Cows looked on from farther afar. The Lord of CUD looked down from above.

As the pandemonium grew, the Lord switched on his computer, input the scenario and pressed Enter. The screen flashed the default Old-fashioned Urban Development Option. ‘Evict imported pigs. Downsize lots of milch cows. Get the right numbers. Equitably divide the Meadow amongst all cows. Introduce measures to stop fences from eating grass.’ The Lord shook his head and clicked Next. The screen flashed the CUD Option. ‘Leave the Meadow to milch cows and pigs (they keep it green whereas Sickly Cows will mess it up). Let as many Sickly Cows as needed to cool tempers remain in the Dump and pack the others off to some wilderness. Use space that becomes surplus after throwing out Sickly Cows to expand the Meadow. Change the laws that say Dumps are only for garbage, Meadows are for all cows and Fences should not eat the grass.’

The Lord issued necessary directions for the CUD Option to be executed. Some Sickly Cows were packed off to the wilderness, where they starved to death. Milch cows and imported pigs got more Meadow and were happy. Fence grew plump and was happy. Old Fence made plans for next fence changing and was happy. Sickly Cows ate at the same Dump and were, well, not happy, but glad to be left alone and alive. The Lord saw almost everyone happy and was happy. And CUD went on…happily.

Industrious hooligans

In mid-November 2000, most of Delhi’s factory owners and workers closed their factories and took to the streets. On 17 November, 4000 of them held a government engineer captive for hours in Northwest Delhi.176 On 18 November, 1500 of them prevented government officials from coming near their factories in East Delhi and West Delhi was caught in traffic jams as thousands came out to demonstrate.177 On 19 November they were all over the capital. They marched in protest, jamming major arterial roads and throwing traffic out of gear. They roughed up government officials and deflated tyres, forcing the officials to retreat. In places they stoned buses, getting lathi-charged and tear-gassed.178

Politicians of all hues rallied around.179 The Delhi unit of the Congress urged Sheila Dikshit’s Congress government in Delhi to safeguard the interests of the factory owners and workers.180 Madan Lal Khurana, former chief minister of Delhi and senior leader of the Bhartiya Janta Party (the leading party in the ruling coalition at the Centre and the party in power in Delhi before), announced he would spearhead their agitation.181 Opposition politicians supported them. Politicians in power instructed the police to ‘go slow’.182

And on 20 November all hell broke loose. Factory owners and workers became a ‘mob’ that made front-page news with screaming headlines about Delhi being held to ransom, ravaged.183 City page headlines detailed what the ‘mob’ had done.184

On 21 November, althoughthepolice hinted at possible escalation of violence and warned residents of disturbed areas that they would have to bear the cost of additional forces, its ‘toughest’ call, it seems, was handling a 500-strong ‘mob’ that stoned buses and was dispersed by teargas.185 Indeed, with local politicians moving on from the ‘mob game’ on the streets to the ‘blame game’ in the Assembly, the ‘mob’ all but disappeared.186 Factory owners and workers continued to protest and snarl up traffic, but the previous day’s arson and looting did not recur.187

Also on 21 November seventeen-year-old Irfan, ‘a worker in a Walled city-based garment unit’ or, perhaps, ‘a shop worker, who was headed for work’ succumbed to the police bullet injury he had received the previous day.188 (Seventeen-year old Ajab Singh, ‘apparently just a passerby’ who got in the way of another police bullet, and fifty-three-year old Bhiku Ram, another passerby who got in the way of a postal van reversing in panic, had already become casualties of the previous day’s violence.)189 And it was on 21 November as well that the Supreme Court of India said to the Delhi government ‘You have hooligans holding the city to ransom’.190

* * *

The story of how the industrious of Delhi came to be hooligans has its beginning in March 1995 when the Supreme Court, hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in 1985, ordered H-category industries to be closed in Delhi. H-category is a list in Delhi’s statutory Master Plan that names various types of hazardous and noxious and/or heavy and large industries that are not permitted in Delhi.

The first thing that resulted from the court’s order was the realization that ‘none of the various departments involved seem to have up-to-date comprehensive lists of industries’.191 From then to the end of this story there was never any clarity on the numbers involved. (The numbers in the following paragraphs are very confusing and have been included to make precisely this point. They are purely incidental to the story being told here.)

In 1995 some lists were placed before the court. The largest comprised 8500 hazardous and noxious industries found in non-industrial areas in a random check of about a fifth of the total units in the city. A second list named 256 hazardous units identified in industrial areas in the mid-1980s. Two more lists (meant to be illustrative) noted seventy-seven big industries and 327 units that had been told to install pollution control devices. Obviously, there were more H-category units, but the total of these numbers placed before the Court became the working figure. Delhi Environment Minister, Sahib Singh Verma, told the Assembly that closure notices would be sent to 9,000 units.192 Subsequently, notices were issued to 1,226, nearly half of which objected to being included in H-category.193 On 8 July 1996, the court ordered closure of the first batch of 168 H-category units by 30 November, a deadline that was met.194

As the court monitored closure of more H-category industries, some contested the criteria for categorization and some sought a ‘third option’ other than shut or shift—of switching to permissible activity.195 The matter of land that became available after closing and shifting became a contentious one (we shall return to that later). The matter of workers’ compensation became the most telling tragedy. In December 1996, the court ordered six years’ wages as compensation if a unit opted to shut rather than shift. This was a significant order since many units had been planning to close, leaving workers in the lurch.196 But non-compliance with the order forced thousands of workers into penury.197 In May 1997, Delhi Minister for Industries H.S. Balli said, ‘the labour department will be coordinating with the management of some industries for payment of compensation within a week’.198 But, over a year later, the deputy commissioner of labour said, ‘We don’t know anything about how many people were unemployed or whether they received compensation or not. We are not a party to the problem.’199 Later there was the case—presumably just one of many—of 2,300 workers affected by the shifting of Birla Textile Mill. Workers alleged there was no factory at the new site—only a structure housing twenty-four machines which had been shifted on which only thirty persons could work. After a favourable court verdict in December 1998, the workers arrived there to report for work and claim wages and shifting allowances. On its part, the management filed a petition asking for a review of all court orders in the matter since 8 July 1996.200

Meanwhile, in 1996, the Delhi government had done a survey that put the total number of industries in the city at over 126,000, including over 97,000 (H- and other category) units in areas not meant for them.201 In April, the court had directed shifting of these ‘non-conforming’ units by 31 December 1996.202 By October, the government was talking of relocating only 40,000 units.203 Subsequently, having begun to acquire land and invited (and received over 52,000) applications for relocation, it persuaded the court to remove the deadline.204 Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma (the BJP was still in power, but the chief minister had changed) said, ‘25,000 units opting for plots up to 100 square metres will be allotted plots before April 1997’.205 But in June 1997 H.S. Balli, the industry minister, was still saying, ‘The process of land acquisition and scrutiny of applications are on’. Meanwhile the Delhi government was paying interest on the Rs 100 crore it had borrowed from the central government for land acquisition, as well as on earnest money (aggregating Rs 270 crore) deposited by those who had applied for relocation.206 In September, Delhi finance minister, parroting what the chief minister had said a year ago, said changes in Delhi Finance Corporation were being considered to allow government aid for relocation.207 The total cost was estimated at Rs 5,000 crore—DFC had only Rs 150 crore—and the possibility of a World Bank loan was being explored.208

In 1998 prices of onions skyrocketed and the BJP government had to pay in the Assembly elections. Sheila Dikshit’s Congress government that replaced it also made little headway in relocating industries. In June 1999 it moved to acquire 800 acres, but ran into problems.209 On land already acquired, no development had started. Subsequently an undertaking of the Railways was appointed to prepare plans for industrial estates, but took a year to submit its report. Delhi Industry Minister, Narender Nath, said that, in any case, only 15,000 units could be accommodated on the land acquired so far210 Total land required to accommodate all the units that had to be shifted was now estimated at 5,000 acres.211 In view of ‘shortage of land’, the government began ‘rethinking its decision to shift all industries’.212 This ‘rethinking’ crystallized into the idea of declaring residential localities where ‘industries comprised more than 70 per cent of the plots’ as industrial areas through an amendment in Delhi’s Master Plan.213 The government decided to seek a two-year extension of the 31 December 1999 deadline that the court had set in September 1999.214 Its affidavit spoke of the new ‘rethinking’ and of 23,000 ‘eligible’ applicants (the ‘eligibility’ criteria were not made clear and nearly 9,500 others filed appeals) and did not mention units that had not applied for relocation (whose number was now put at 25,000).215

* * *

Let us take pause in this saga of misplaced industries and misguided governance to reflect on how this matter came to engage the city’s attention. The matter of industries in areas not meant for them was a land use planning issue. The matter of workers affected by closure of industries was a labour issue. Never in recent history had such matters agitated so greatly the minds of so many urbanites. But this time they did. The credit for this goes to a coincident court case that firmly connected the word ‘polluting’ (the most convenient boogey man of middle and upper class urbanites) with the word ‘industry’.

This was the Maili Yamunacase in which the supreme court, taking suo moto cognisance of a newspaper report on the state of Delhi’s very own and very maili (polluted) Yamuna river, ordered stoppage of discharge of untreated sewage and industrial effluent into the river in February 1996. It ordered the government to build sixteen sewage treatment plants and fifteen common effluent treatment plants (ETPs).216 What followed must surely place the case amongst the most public ones in its genre. Yamuna’s pollution statistics became the talk of Delhi’s cocktail circuit. Delhi’s children got to know that what they’d been calling river was actually shit stream. An expert even said, ‘At present, we can only assess pollution of the sewage in (the) Yamuna as hardly any water is left (in it)’.217 The city gleefully watched the government get a dressing down by the court in hearing after hearing. Many a bureaucratic head rolled.218

The government was moving at its usual pace for the usual reasons and, in case of the Congress government, one unusual reason—of having thought of an ‘alternative’.219 The alternative was to lay a deeper (covered) sewer channel along the Yamuna into which the sewage currently flowing into the river would be diverted, treated at one point and released for agricultural use in neighbouring states in return for raw water to fill the river. In mid-1999 it was reportedly talking of asking the World Bank to fund this scheme, estimated to cost Rs 20,000 crore.220 The media did not report the World Bank’s reaction.

In September 2000 the union environment ministry told the court that sewage treatment plants—which were expected to take care of 85 per cent of the pollution in the Yamuna—would take at least five years to construct.221 It was also not clear if they would really manage to stop sewage pollution in the river altogether, considering that even existing plants were mostly dysfunctional because of power cuts or connecting sewer lines not having been laid, besides which the dilapidated trunk sewage system needed refurbishing at an estimated cost of Rs 435 crore.222 Even common ETPs in planned industrial estates which were expected to take care of most of the rest of the pollution would take time. Till the end of 2000 not one was operational.223 It was also not clear if and how far these would help in the present circumstances. They would, at best, make waste water clean, though the water would very likely still need to go through sewage treatment plants, which were yet to be made. In any case, industrial solid waste also had to go somewhere. Since no special sites for industrial waste existed, it would end up either in sewers or in garbage and from there, into the Yamuna or, worse, ordinary landfills sites from where it could contaminate soil and ground water.224

Obviously, cleaning the Yamuna needed more creative management of the city’s sewage and industrial waste than, say, installing ETPs. Yet, when the court in September 1999 had ordered the government to stop discharge of industrial effluent into the Yamuna by 1 November, all the government had done was to direct polluting industries to install ETPs!225 This act of government was made all the more arbitrary by its timing. So far industries in areas meant for industries had been asked to contribute towards installation of common ETPs and industries in areas not meant for industries were awaiting relocation by a deadline just days away. Now all were asked to invest in individual ETPs, for which the government also forgot to lay down any norms.226

Expectedly, the court deadline came and went. This was followed by strictures against the government, followed by a hasty closure drive in which notices were issued to 1,384 industrial units and 983 were sealed.227 These, it turned out, included non-polluting units and units that had already installed ETPs, and there were protests, followed by a Cabinet meeting, followed by a statement by the industry minister, who said industry owners were being given another chance to prove that they had installed ETPs.228 Within a week 900 applications for review were filed.229 Ten days after they had been sealed, 372 units were de-sealed.230 On 24 January, the court ordered they be re-sealed.231

In March 2000 the court set a new deadline of 28 April, making the chief secretary responsible for meeting it.232 Chief Secretary Omesh Saigal chalked out a plan, but was transferred.233 On April 28 (by when the Delhi government had chaotically closed 2,855 polluting units with no consequent improvement in the Yamuna), the court issued notice to the new chief secretary, P.S. Bhatnagar, to explain why a fine should not be levied for non-compliance.234 More units were chaotically closed with no consequent improvement in maili river. In May the court slapped a fine of Rs.10000 on the Delhi government for failing to clean the Yamuna. 235 Once again, more units were chaotically closed with no consequent improvement. In July, the court warned the administration of a stringent penalty if the quality of river water was not improved in three months.236 And yet again, more units were chaotically closed with no consequent improvement …

* * *

The turn-of-the-millenium court orders in the maili Yamuna case had two very serious impacts on the matter of relocation of industries from areas not meant for industries (and, indeed, on the practice and theory of urban governance itself).

The first impact was on the industries themselves. So far the industrial units had been watching the court repeatedly pull up the government for its failures to control pollution in the river and ensure that industries in Delhi were located in accordance with the Master Plan. Now they found themselves paying a preposterously disproportionate price for these failures. It became inevitable that they would, sooner or later, protest against the arbitrary and high-handed sealing, de-sealing, re-sealing and the obnoxious ‘polluter-hatao instead of pollution-hatao’ style of governance. Indeed, the lieutenant-governor of Delhi implicitly acknowledged this possibility in a noting in May 2000 saying that the government’s failure to actually establish that an offence had been committed before sealing the units could throw them open to prosecution as such closure threatened the employees’ right to livelihood.237

The second, and perhaps more far-reaching, impact was on the public perception of industries. As mentioned earlier, this case inseparably linked the words ‘polluting’ and ‘industry’. After September 2000, when the court, fed-up with the Delhi government’s inaction in the matter of relocating industries, ordered the union urban development ministry to take charge, this association was further reinforced.238 The ministry, instead of outlining a comprehensive approach to solve the problem of a hundred thousand industries in areas not meant for them, only announced immediate plans to shift or shut a few ‘polluting industries’, without clarifying that these were not the only industries that were in areas not meant for industries.

In the matter of the sewage-filled Yamuna, with the government in spite of strict monitoring by the supreme court having done no more than close polluting industries, the public at large had already been led (very mistakenly) to believe that all river pollution was caused by industries. Now, in the matter of a hundred thousand industries located in areas not meant for them, with the government(s) under strict monitoring by the supreme court still speaking only of shunting ‘polluting units’ out of Delhi, the public at large was led (very mistakenly) to believe that all industries were polluting. In the media-managed minds of Delhi’s urbanites, otherwise caught between splurging surplus incomes on phoren branded goods and haggling over prices of desi items cheaply produced in the city’s service industries, the industrious of Delhi had been painted as hooligans long before the Supreme Court of India described them thus.

Villainous Planners

At the centre of the entire controversy surrounding industries that were currently located in areas not meant for industries was the Master Plan. When the court set the ball rolling and said these industries had to be shifted because they were ‘non-conforming’, it said so with reference not to pollution laws but to the Master Plan for Delhi, which spells out where industries may or may not be. The Master Plan does the same for houses, offices, shops, green areas, etc. It spells all this out in the form of a broad land use drawing—a map of the city (including proposed expansions) in which land for different uses is marked in different colours. This drawing is based on ground realities at the time of making the plan and a set of principles that form the vision for the future. It is supported by an explanatory text that outlines this basis and provides detailed guidelines for the colours in the drawing.

One could think of the role of the Master Plan in relation to urban land as one would think of the role of an expenditure budget for family income. Both can help—but not guarantee—efficient and equitable distribution of resources for everyone’s needs and wants. Mere existence of a budget does not necessarily ensure that those in charge of expenditure will not flout it to buy laptops for themselves while children go without uniforms. Mere existence of a Master Plan similarly will not stop the powerful from squandering precious urban land to build unnecessary unplanned cyber parks or world-class shopping complexes as monuments to themselves while letting the poor live and work in locations marked in the landuse drawing for other city needs. Also, both are not carved in stone and allow for mid-course corrections to meet unanticipated needs. However, mindless or willful changes to either would very likely mean that some gain at the cost of others.

It was a demand for one such change that gave a curious twist to this tale, perhaps the only tale of worker unrest in which slogans were raised not against any management but against a city’s master plan.

* * *

When H-category industries were ordered to be closed in 1996, a common forum of thirty non-governmental organizations brought out a report that came down heavily on Delhi’s Master Plan and branded it anti-people.239 Four years and two city governments after the court had pressed the ‘Start’ button, the ranks of Plan-bashers had swelled, with the government of the day and the former government leading the anti-Plan tirade.

The groundwork for the big Plan-bashing party was laid with the Congress government’s brainwave (in the middle of 1999) to get ‘non-conforming’ industries to ‘conform’ to the Plan by amending the Plan.240 Till then, in its efforts to solve the problem, it had managed to allot 300 units in a yet-to-be-completed flatted factory complex and 500 plots in a partially developed industrial area just outside the city.241 It had been routinely announcing its plans to develop the land acquired in 1995 by the previous government, but so far, a ‘massive sign board announcing that the site was for “Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Udyog Nagar” was the only indication of impending industrialisation’ there.242 At this rate, it would take the government many many years to solve the problem. A Master Plan amendment, on the other hand, could in one elegant and quick stroke change much of the problem into the solution, while earning precious brownie points to boot.

This style of ‘urban development management’ was quite typical of the Congress government of the time, which had already mooted similar proposals in respect of slum clusters and unauthorized colonies, and this suggestion may have been made almost ‘routinely’ by it. The Plan-bashing was precipitated a year later when urban development minister Jagmohan (whose ministry was the one that had to ultimately authorize any Plan amendment) turned the proposal down. This reaction was also typical of the union Minister known for his authoritarian clean-up act. As the head of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in the 1970s he had masterminded for the then Congress government the massive relocation of 80,000 slum families to city outskirts. As the union minister for urban development in the BJP-led government he was now mounting massive bulldozing interventions, including packing off slums and polluting industries to live together happily ever after in a place meant to be a self-contained sub-city of Delhi. Many in government and among NGOs were unhappy with Jagmohan’s interventions and for them his categorical rejection of the Delhi government’s proposal to call some residential areas industrial seems to have become the proverbial last straw.

In September 2000, Jagmohan’s ministry in its affidavit said, ‘no amendment in the master plan of Delhi may be done to cover inaction or failure on the part of the local government.’243 BJP leader and former Delhi industry minister H. S. Balli and city Congress chief Subhash Chopra both threatened agitation.244 Former BJP chief minister Madan Lal Khurana and Congress Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit both said the problem could not be solved unless the Master Plan was amended.245 Former chief executive councilor, Jag Pravesh Chandra, in an edit page article, said the Master Plan was not sacrosanct and lieutenant-governor Vijai Kapoor at a seminar also said DDA should lay down flexible guidelines for infrastructure.246

To-amend-or-not-to-amend remained a simmering question till November 2000. When the industrious turned hooligans, it became a burning question. Sheila Dikshit appealed to the Centre to change the Master Plan.247 Madan Lal Khurana announced he was forming the Master Plan Badlo Action Committee to begin an agitation to change the Master Plan.248 (A month later, the Delhi Congress also launched a ‘Nyay Yudh’ for the same.)249 BJP mayor Shanti Desai called an emergency meeting to talk about amending the Master Plan.250 A delegation of BJP MPs from Delhi (other than Jagmohan) met the prime minister to seek his intervention for amending the Master Plan.251 The Congress Legislative Party also passed a resolution to adjourn the Assembly the next day and march to the prime minister’s residence to seek his intervention for amending the Master Plan.252

In parliament, Jagmohan ‘bent a little, but did not break’ and ‘yielded an inch but refused a mile’. He said the Master Plan could be amended, if necessary, but only to acquire more land to relocate industries and to review the definition of household industries in terms of allowing greater power consumption and number of employees. The opposition walked out in protest.253 Even ruling party members said the Congress government in Delhi was responsible for ‘messing up’, mainly because it did not request the supreme court to allow it to amend the Master Plan and, instead, repeatedly assured it that it could solve the problem otherwise.254 In an unprecedented move, the Delhi Assembly passed, after the four BJP MLAs present had staged a walk out, a censure motion against Jagmohan, expressing ‘strong disapproval’ over the statement made by him in parliament.255

* * *

Through all this no one had the exact numbers. How many of Delhi’s industries were in areas planned for them? How many were in areas not meant for them? How many were licensed and by whom? How many were polluting and by what standards? How much did they contribute to polluting the Yamuna? How many were otherwise problematic—either for themselves or for their neighbours or the city?

It was a shocking comment on the state of governance that, despite five years of involvement of the supreme court, these basic statistics were missing from the debate. It was especially appalling coming from the government of Sheila Dikshit who claimed to be green ‘by choice, not by chance’, wholeheartedly involved in a Rs 40 crore World Bank project for studies on infrastructure and environmental imperatives as well as a project for hi-tech digital mapping for Delhi to provide relevant planning data at the click of a mouse.256 Surely, with her heart in the right place and so much public investment already made on understanding the state of affairs, basic figures were not too much to ask for. But they remained elusive—at the click of a mouse or otherwise.

With the factory owners and workers on the streets and with both Parliament and Delhi Assembly in session, several figures were thrown up that, howsoever dubious, must be considered because the legislators were considering them and politicians had taken over planning. Madan Lal Khurana said in the Lok Sabha that the total units involved in the current impasse numbered 126,000.257 Kapil Sibal (a Congress MP) said in the Rajya Sabha that only 4,000 of these were polluting.258 Jagmohan said in the Rajya Sabha, referring to the report of the high-powered committee set up by the court, that out of 43,045 applications scrutinized by October 1996, 39,166 did not qualify for grant of license under the Master Plan (meaning that at least 3,879 did).259 Delhi Minister for Industries Narender Nath said in the Delhi Assembly that redefining household industries would benefit only a small number of units, variously reported by the media as 3,306, 6,000-odd, and not-even-10,000.260

It did seem that polluting units (which all agreed must go), units that could be licensed (which all agreed must stay) and units that would become permissible after redefining household industries (which all agreed also must stay) did not add up to very much. The large majority of industries operating in areas not meant for industries faced a choice between two options. The Congress or Sheila Option(which might have been the BJP or Madan Lal Khurana option as well, except that the former chief minister had not announced it during his tenure) was to let them be. The Jagmohan Option was to relocate them some 30 km away or even farther.

The justifications that the section of politicians and civil society espousing the Sheila Optionput forth hinged on words like ‘humaneness’ and ‘pragmatism’ and were wide-ranging. The livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers would be affected.261 The economic base amounting to thousands of crores would be wiped out.262 Such massive relocation would require lots of money and time.263 Development of new industrial estates would also require the Master Plan to be amended.264 .Master Plan was for people and not vice versa .265 The Master Plan was not sacrosanct and if the Constitution could be amended so could the Master Plan.266 The Master Plan had been amended before such as when unauthorized colonies were regularized.267 The Master Plan had to be amended if problems of polluting industries, unauthorized colonies and shops in residential areas were to be solved.268

The justifications for the Jagmohan Option(largely articulated by Jagmohan himself) hinged on phrases like ‘urban discipline’.269 Relocating industries in proper industrial areas, where environmental and health guidelines were followed, would give better working conditions and housing facilities to the workers. The Master Plan was made for planned growth. Delhi was turning into a slum. This ‘urban indiscipline’ caused 40,000 deaths every year and nearly 1.2 billion activity days were lost due to ill health (according to WHO). Should the government condone wrongdoing if it is done on a large scale? How would those clamouring for Master Plan amendments react if the posh residential areas in which they lived were to become full of industrial units?

For the industrial units, the Sheila Option promised status quo ante. They could continue to work in the conditions that the other half of the city could not even bear to read about, conditions that had engaged the attention of the apex court for five years and pre-occupied the city executive and its politicians for at least two of those. The Jagmohan Option offered the promise of better conditions, but at least 30 km away, in yet-to-be-developed sites, in smaller plots and at prices that did not provide value for money. Not much of a choice in a free country! The Sheila Optionrequired the Master Plan to be amended to let the industries be where they were. The Jagmohan Optionrequired the Master Plan to be amended to let them be relocated elsewhere (where rural areas would get messed up so that industrial areas could be hastily developed).

The villain of the piece was obvious, then. ‘Down with the Master Plan’ became the battle cry in the capital at the end of 2000 when master plans in several cities in the country were being revised or becoming due for revision.

Grass-eating Fences

The Master Plan for Delhi came into force in 1962 to provide a blueprint for planned development of the city. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had already been constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1957 with the express mandate to promote and secure development of Delhi according to Plan. To facilitate Plan implementation the government also came out with a progressive policy for socialisation of urban land through public acquisition of the entire area proposed to be urbanised by 1981. This policy was meant to ensure availability of adequate land at the right time and at reasonable price, control land values and prevent concentration of land in few hands to safeguard the interests of the poor. A revolving fund was created for development and disposal of land acquired under this policy. The Delhi Development Act, the policy for large scale acquisition, development and disposal of land and the revolving fund to help operationalise it provided a uniquely facilitating framework for DDA to ‘promote and secure’ development according to the Master Plan.

Like any good plan, Delhi’s Master Plan did not provide an either or choice between environmental and economic imperatives. It supported industrial development in the interest of balanced economic development, especially as it would be ‘undesirable to increase the proportion of Government employment in the occupational structure of the city’.270 It did say it would be unwise to locate large and heavy industries in Delhi. This was not because it considered them ‘polluting’ and wanted to export them to some place else, but because they would create an undesirable industrial bias in the economy of the capital and because Delhi did not have enough water and power to sustain them.271 It included, accordingly, lists of undesirable industries and prohibited industries. Together, these lists are substantively the same as the H-category list that replaced them in the comprehensively amended Plan approved in 1990 and which was the basis of the court order of March 1995.

For other types of industries (including ones at the centre of the impasse in Delhi in 2000), the Master Plan used techniques like industrial zoning (the basis of the concept of ‘non-conforming’ units greatly touted later on) to obviate detrimental environmental impacts of economically essential industrial functions. The logic of industrial zoning is that it is easier to service industries—in terms of effluent treatment and waste sites as well as ordinary water, power and transport—when they are together rather than when they are mixed up with other uses needing less or different infrastructure.

When the 1962 Master Plan was prepared, there were 8,000 industrial units in Delhi occupying an area of 1,000 acres. There were only two planned industrial districts and most industries were scattered all over the city and required relocation.272 The Plan set aside 5,761 acres of land for industries within the urbanisable limits proposed for 1981. This land (unlike in the Jagmohan Option) was appropriately distributed with a view to ensuring that ‘industrial districts are located in right relationship with residential areas’.273

The bulk of land reserved for industrial use was in the form of industrial estates.274 Besides these, the Plan proposed flatted factories—multi-storied structures near residential areas for small-scale, non-nuisance industries.275 In (the then) central areas these were mainly for existing units that needed to be relocated from nearby. In (the then) outlying areas, they were for new units. For the former, 192 acres, and for the latter, 168 acres, were reserved.276

The Master Plan provided for combating industrial pollution without making a big issue of it. Industrial estates were separated from residential areas by buffers.277 While most existing industries were permitted to shift to any industrial area, noxious ones could only shift to extensive industrial zones (designed to handle higher levels of pollution) even if they were by definition not ‘extensive’.278

The 1962 Master Plan (unlike the ‘options’ forty years later) did not envisage forced relocation. Enough choice of areas was provided and no one was expected to have to shift to some wilderness miles away from the city. It stated that the relocation process ‘must be largely governed by the fact that there should be the minimum amount of dislocation of production and the workers should not be put to undue hardship’.279 It laid down a time schedule that distinguished between noxious, nuisance and non-nuisance industries and allowed extensions to industries with higher capital value, more workers or more floor space per worker.280 It said that industries to be relocated should be given priority in allotments in new industrial sites and incentives, such as more land than they occupied at present, loans, etc.281 For relocation of small industries not suited to flatted factories, but unlikely to be able to afford industrial plots, it said government should develop industrial estates where space could be rented out to them and that, obviously, such ‘estates should be built up in comparatively central areas’.282

A mid-term appraisal of the Master Plan implementation in 1974 found the number of industrial workers had been under-estimated and space standards over-estimated. After making necessary adjustments, industrial land requirement for 1981 was modified marginally upwards to 6,500 acres.283 How much of this was developed is, like other numbers in this story, a mystery that even the Estimates Committee of Parliament, with all its privileges, could not unravel. According to a table in its report of May 1984, of a total industrial area of 2148 acres developed by all agencies, DDA had developed 2,700 acres!284 In all of two decades since the Master Plan came into force in 1962, we had managed to relocate only 3,300 units (and the Jagmohan Option in 2000 spoke of ‘relocating’ nearly 100,000). In all, DDA had developed just 9,000 industrial plots.285 In 1981 there were 46,000 industrial units—a majority of them, naturally, in areas not reserved for industries.286

In 1990, the revised Master Plan for Delhi was approved. In this, industries already ‘prohibited’ in Delhi as per the 1962 Plan were again prohibited and ones that had continued or come up in spite of being prohibited were given three years to shift.287 The list of industries ‘prohibited’ in the 1962 Plan was expanded and included under the title ‘Hazardous and Noxious Industries’ as Section A in the H-category. (The objectionable ‘characteristic’ listed against each type, incidentally, is mainly fire hazard, not pollution.)288 The types of industries already identified as ‘undesirable’ in 1962 were listed in Section B in the H-category under the title of ‘Heavy and Large Industries’.289 No new industries of these types or of the eighty-one types of ‘Extensive Industries’ included in the F-category were henceforth to be allowed in Delhi. Existing Heavy and Large Industries were to be shifted out according to the plan and policy for the National Capital Region.290 Existing F-category industries in areas not meant for them were to be relocated in plots of at least 400 square metres in existing extensive industry zones and in new ones ‘confined within about 265 hectares (or 650 acres) in two locations’ in proposed urban extensions.291 (The Jagmohan Option circa 2000wanted to pack them all off elsewhere, including larger industrial areas in the urban extension, in plots of less than 250 square metres.)

In effect, only light and service industries were permitted in Delhi in the future, primarily because these service the city and are mostly small (77 per cent had less than ten and 91 per cent less than twenty workers in 1981).292 Accordingly, besides being allowed in industrial estates, they were permitted in commercial areas and flatted factories all over the city. The plan also defined small units (employing up to five persons and using power up to 1 kw) in seventy types of industries as household industries and permitted them in residential areas on the ground floor.293 (It was this definition that all were agreeable to revise to allow consumption up to 5 kw of power and permission on other floors as well in 2000.)294

The revised Master Plan approved in 1990 also allowed for three industrial clusters to be surveyed, redeveloped and regularized after upgrading.295 (In 2000 the Sheila Optionwas asking for many more to be regularized without being redeveloped and the three to which Jagmohan grudgingly consented were the ones already mentioned in the 1990 Master Plan document).296

On pollution (against which this holy war was being waged in the name of the Master Plan), the 1990 Plan only speaks of eighty-two water-polluting units, 30 per cent of which were in areas not meant for industries. For these it only says that they be shifted to industrial areas, where all polluting units must make individual or joint arrangements for effluent treatment.297

* * *

The most striking difference between the Master Plan land use drawings of 1962 and 1990 is that a large chunk of purple (the colour for industrial use) gave way to yellow (the colour for residential use). This was partly in view of most service industries being in the ‘tiny-sector’ and because of policy decisions to restrict other industries and partly because of emergent priorities such as regularizing unauthorized colonies (in 1977) and allotting land to housing cooperatives. At least some of the industries that were being forced out of Delhi in 2000 were really paying the price for these older changes in the Master Plan (besides the related governmental failure to install sewage lines in regularized unauthorized colonies which contributed to polluting the Yamuna).

Incidentally, alongside the imbroglio about units that were never told about the land meant for them (either by government agencies for developing, licensing or policing them or by political and NGO entities claiming to work in their interest), another 1,071 unauthorized residential colonies were again waiting to be regularized. Which colour in the land use plan would change to yellow and who would become hooligans years later as a result of this are points to ponder. Meanwhile, the land use already changed from purple to yellow was not the only land that got stolen from the kitty of the industries.

Some of the extensive (F-category) industries at the centre of the controversy in 2000 had presumably come up after 1990 when they were forbidden. But who’s to ask how many, how and why? In urban extensions, only 265 hectares had been earmarked for shifting some such (pre-1990) industries. At the minimum plot size of 400 square metres prescribed for them and allowing 25 per cent for streets and facilities, this land would have been enough for only about 5,000 units. Yet, the Jagmohan Option was bent on stuffing many more ‘extensive’ industries of unspecified vintage in puny plots in urban extensions—all in the name of the Master Plan. The rest of the pre-1990 ‘non-conforming’ (rather than unauthorized) F-category industries were to go to industrial areas already proposed in the 1962 Plan. The mid-term appraisal in 1974 had noted that plot sizes in private cooperative estates were greater than in DDA’s estates and recommended a review of requirements and utilization. Yet F-category industries were being axed before estates meant for them had been fully and efficiently (re)developed.

After discounting F-category units, (redefined) household units and H-category units that may have got left out in the court-ordered closure exercise because they were not polluting and just otherwise hazardous, the number of light and service industries could have been about two-thirds of the total number of industries in places not meant for industries.298 In industrial estates for such industries, the Master Plan proposes a wide range of plot sizes—from 30 to 1000 square metres. The average, based on suggested proportions of different sizes, comes to just over 200 square metres. In 1990, about 1,533 hectares were set aside for new estates in urban extensions for such units.299 After allowing for streets and community facilities, this quantum of land could easily accommodate 50,000 such units and if larger plots are disallowed it could accommodate more. This is what the Jagmohan Optionseemed to be wanting. While it is possible to do such a ‘fitting’ exercise, it makes no sense because service industries, by definition, service the city and cannot be lumped altogether in some place miles away from anywhere. This is precisely why the 1990 Master Plan proposes that these 1,533 hectares be spread over sixteen industrial estates. But who’s to ask why urban extensions yet to come up were being given an unplanned start? Or if all the land in the industrial estates meant for these units elsewhere had been fully and efficiently utilized already? Or who else had got or would get that real estate in the city?

The Master Plan did not limit industrial options for light and service industries to plots. A lot of such units were meant to be in flatted factories. The industrial space that was envisaged in this option could have accommodated 30,000 to 40,000 units of 50 square metres each (the size of the 300 flatted factory units alloted in 2000).300 In reality, none of these flatted factories had been built in spite of having been proposed in 1962, strongly recommended again in 1974 in the mid-term appraisal, and proposed yet again in 1990. To get an idea of what happened to this land, take the case of the century-old Delhi Cloth Mills. In 1962, the Plan suggested that it be shifted and 27 acres of the land thus cleared in the heart of Delhi be used to set up flatted factories. This was enough for nearly 3,300 units of 50 square metres each. The DCM was to shift by 1965 or, latest, by 1967. It finally closed in 1989. By then, in addition to 52 acres of freehold land that the Mill already owned, DDA had given it 11.7 acres of leasehold land for expansion. In 1989, the then Lieutenant-Governor Romesh Bhandari ordered that DCM be allowed to use all 63.7 acres it owned for its proposed project to build flatted factories and multi-storied housing. In 1991, the supreme court upheld DDA’s claim to the leasehold land.301 But in July 1994, the union urban development ministry directed that this land be restored to DCM.302 The flatted factories that should have come up on the site in the 1960s were still not there in 2000. But who’s to ask when they would come and for whom after the clean sweep was done?

As per the 1962 Plan industries were allowed only in industrial areas. But in 1990, specified types of units were also allowed in planned commercial areas. Surely thousands of units could have been thus accommodated. When plan amendments were approved in 1990, work was underway on the design of one of the three urban extensions, Dwarka. This one is in a different direction from the other two extensions (Rohini and Narela) and eminently suited to locating one of the two extensive industry zones proposed in urban extensions. Besides, it was also supposed to accommodate some of the sixteen light and service industrial estates proposed. Indeed, around 6 per cent of the area in Dwarka was reserved for industries. But the government wrote to DDA to say that, in view of the policy to restrict industries, industrial allocation should be curtailed and commercial allocation (in which light and service industries are also permissible) increased instead. Although proposals to amend the Master Plan to this effect finally did not come through, the industrial component in the upcoming township was dropped.303 But no one seems to have monitored the impact of this significant policy decision, taken while the matter of industrial land use was before the apex court.

On the other hand, there is perhaps no planned commercial area—in Dwarka or elsewhere—where Master Plan provisions for industries have been consciously implemented. A notable case in point is a state-of-art community centre (commercial area meant, as per the Master Plan, to serve a local population of about 100,000) developed in the 1990s by HUDCO, designed by a leading private architect and built by a leading corporate developer. In 1990, HUDCO was still supposedly focussed on low-income housing. But the union urban development ministry decided to get some exclusive housing built through it on a prime piece of real estate very close to South Extension, an up-market commercial area in south Delhi.304 So splendid was the housing scheme HUDCO came up with, that it must have found Master Plan norms for the community centre it was to build next to it rather tame. So, it planned a ‘community centre’ which had guesthouses, restaurants, a five-star hotel, a shopping arcade and cultural centre.305 Of course, such a plan had no place for messy industries, though the Master Plan permits 140 types of industries in a community centre. But who’s to question the combined urban development indulgences of premier urban designers and developers in government, corporate and private professional sectors working in partnership?

There is also the matter of the land vacated by shifting of H-category industries. In May 1996 the court had asked owners of these plots to surrender two-thirds of the land to DDA for community use. Further, it said, ‘the most important community need which is wholly deficient and needed urgently is to provide for lung spaces’.306 On the rest of the land it permitted one-and-a-half times the floor area ratio (FAR) normally permissible to help owners ‘meet the cost of relocation’.307 When it was brought to the court’s notice that several units would take advantage of this ‘land use package’ by selling the land, leaving workers to fend for themselves, it ordered six years’ wages as compensation for the workers if an owner opted to close rather than shift.308 As mentioned, this order was rarely complied with. A follow-up study also reported that most owners had enough capital and were simply not interested in paying.309 Nor were they in any hurry to surrender their real estate to DDA. A ‘grey area’ was conveniently noticed in the order. Owners felt DDA should pay compensation and leave to them the choice of what land they hand over. DDA, on its part, saw no reason to pay compensation or be stuck with problematic sites, such as ones mired in court cases.310 Four years after the order, not one square inch had been handed over to DDA. In May 2000, the court said the owners were not entitled to compensation beyond the extra FAR and ordered them to surrender the stipulated portion of land to DDA by 28 May, failing which DDA had to file applications before the district judge by 23 June. The district judge would execute the court’s order of May 1996 and report compliance in four weeks thereafter.311 On 24 June 2000, by when DDA had filed one ‘incomplete and vague’ application, the district judge asked it to file site plans of the lands it wanted to take over. DDA filed a few site plans and twenty-six owners filed objections; DDA filed replies. The court over-ruled the objections through separate orders and some owners filed review petitions. On 3 August 2000 the court issued warrants for taking possession of the land to be surrendered—for all of just nine factories which had been shutdown.312 Two days later the bailiff returned to say that the warrants could not be executed as the places were ‘encroached and closed’.313 Who’s to ask if this is how we ‘manage public land’ —especially when it is real estate for the rich—even as we always seem to be terribly short of it when it comes to the poor?

But this is not the main point in the matter of the land spared by shifting H-category units at the end of the 1990s. The point to be noted is that those industries that existed prior to 1962 were to have closed by 1965 or latest by 1967; those that had come up during 1962-1990 should not have come up at all, but in 1990 they were ‘condoned’ and given till 1993 to shift; and those that had come up after 1990 should also not have come up and had not been ‘condoned’ so far. In effect, industries that should not have begun operations after 1962 and, if existing before that, closed down latest by 1967 were being gifted precious industrial land as an incentive to close down at the end of the 1990s. The 1990 plan document does not mention incentives (only a three-year limit for closing). In 1962, the Plan did suggest incentives, but these came with a time limit. Surely, even the oldest amongst these industries were not entitled to benefits beyond what they could have claimed latest till 1967. Many (including the nine against which the district judge issued warrants in August 2000) had been occupying space not meant for them in industrial estates meant for other industries. Their owners were now being generously allowed to change to a conforming industrial activity on the same site if they so desired. In effect, ‘yet-to-come-up’ industries were being allowed a greater claim on scarce industrial land in Delhi while so many other ‘old’ ones were being unceremoniously closed or shunted out on the grounds that there was no more industrial land available.

The Master Plan says land spared by shifting H-category units is to be used for ‘making up the deficiency, as per the needs of the community, based on norms’ given in the Plan and if the land is not needed for this ‘it will be used as per prescribed land use.’314 From everything else in the Plan, ‘community’ is arguably meant in the sense of ‘local resident community’. In the case of industries closed on sites not meant for them, the ‘community’ could be in need of ‘lung spaces’. Equally it could be in need of schools or hospitals or flatted factories—all as per norms. In case of industries closed in industrial estates, there is no ‘community’ as such, except perhaps workers in shanties badly in need of housing. The Master Plan also limits land to be left for parks and green buffers in industrial estates to 8 per cent in estates for extensive industries and 12 per cent in estates for light and service industries.315 This is to be ensured on the whole while designing the layout (it is not the norm to be followed for each individual plot). Industrial land, it must be remembered, is precious for the city’s economic well being. Like commercial land it provides workspaces for the city at convenient locations and with necessary facilities. But unlike commercial areas, it can be ‘saved’ under zoning laws from market forces that tend to overly commercialize work areas to the detriment of convenience and efficiency concerns underlying landuse decisions. To put more parks into industrial areas than are necessary to create essential buffers is sub-optimal use of public land. To do so when people in the streets are crying for a small piece of industrial land for units crucial not only to their but also to the city’s economic survival is very poor planning indeed. But who’s to ask when and how colour pencils meant for modifying land use drawings all became green? Or when and why it was decreed that grass is more important than cows?

Planning for the Past

The Great Terrain Robbery is the longest playing film in the history of contemporary urban development. It is also one whose real story line is seldom seen, what with so many other louder and lewder goings-on.

Up to a point the jamboree that grew around the matter of industries in Delhi was just another of these goings on—portraying rank incompetence as benign humaneness, wanton contempt of law as considerate pragmatism and authoritarian greening as urban discipline. But by casting the Master Plan as the villain, the ‘filmmakers’ made this jamboree worthy of the climax scene in this ‘film’. After all, terrain robbery could be defined as robbery only as long as there was a Master Plan to define who ‘owned’ the terrain, much like other robberies are definable only as long as there are defined rights to property. With the industrious themselves driven to raise slogans against the Master Plan that defines and protects their entitlements to the use of land in the city, land meant for them no longer needed to be robbed, just taken, from their kitty.

The Master Plan, like all plans and laws, is not perfect. More importantly, it is all that stands between precious public land remaining a public good and it becoming real estate in the hands of private individuals (including public figures), and between public land owning agencies (an oxymoron if there was one!) remaining custodians and becoming owners. But the difference between ‘failure of the Plan’ and the ‘failure of Plan implementation’ was, perhaps, too subtle. As was the fact that those loudly blaming the Plan were precisely the ones who shouldered – even if they did not realise or feel – the collective guilt of failure of Plan implementation for all these years.

What happened to the Master Plan— indeed to the notion of planned urban development—in the capital in 2000 was a nightmare for many good old-fashioned town planners. Both the country’s leading political parties were agitating on the streets against it. Many self-styled ‘experts’ in allied or unrelated disciplines had joined in taking pot shots at it. Much-encouraged politicians were announcing, also in matters other than industrial relocation, urban development decisions in the capital that had no basis in its statutory Master Plan. After all, with so many placards of so many protesters condemning it and nearly all of the rest of Delhi laughing at it, who would dare say, ‘But the Master Plan does not allow this’.

Nothing trains planners to win friends and influence people the way only politicians and those with social skills that form NGOs can. Moreover, many planners, especially the ones who know the details, work for government and could say little as their political bosses became official spokespersons for and against the Master Plan, commenting on it only to reinforce their ‘vision’. A few individual professionals did (try to) speak out in defence of the Master Plan, but they were no match for the anti-Plan tirade of the much more media-savvy politicians and NGOs. Institutional support for the Master Plan should have come from professional bodies, like the Institute of Town Planners, and schools of planning, like the premier School of Planning and Architecture. (Ironically both are located in Delhi.) But the former, like most professional institutes, is more a club of people with the same professional qualifications than an active platform for real professionals, and the latter, like most institutions of higher learning, is unfortunately not unduly agitated by the declining perceived worth of the profession. August ‘professional’ institutions all but played Nero while the Master Plan—the quintessential basis of the planning profession—all but burned on the streets of Delhi.

Planning for the future was well on its way to becoming passe. Planning for the past was hot, hip and happening, leaving those in charge free to have their cake and eat it too. They could become humane and pragmatic and ‘regularize’ those who had missed the bus to planned development and add to vote banks. Or they could become all disciplined and throw them out if they bothered someone who mattered or if the land they occupied began to look like worthwhile real estate, and add to ‘note’ banks. Those in charge were already doing this in some measure—but only in some measure—in respect of unauthorized colonies, slums, farmhouses, banquet halls, shops and showrooms, petrol pumps, etc. Now they could do it with gay abandon simply by rolling their eyes heavenwards and saying the words ‘Master Plan’ in an exasperated sort of way. The license to amend the Plan at will was what they had gained out of just weeks of effort to undermine public faith in it (it could hardly have been more effective if it had been carefully orchestrated).

This reduced the forthcoming exercise of revising Delhi’s Master Plan, which would become due for revision in 2001, to a redundant farce. But no one was asking to scrap it, only to amend it. The Master Plan—especially a ‘flexible’ Master Plan—is handy to flaunt as proof of planned endeavour for soliciting funding, besides which it provides necessary information to play the real estate markets. The Master Plan is not too bad provided you do not have to take the ‘Master’ in it too seriously, provided planners with their colour pencils are willing to see that future does not have to conform to the Plan and, instead, that the Plan can conform to the past. That, perhaps, was why professional planning institutions, despite their failure to adequately defend the Master Plan, were not asked to show cause why they should be allowed to continue occupying prime urban land or otherwise existing to lesser or larger extent at the cost of tax payers. The Master Plan and those trained to make it still had their uses for the real and venal gods of contemporary urban development.

* * *

Urban land (like all resources characterized by limited supply, high demand and competing and vested interests) calls for careful planning and rigorous plan implementation for efficient and equitable use. Thus far master plans have been largely careful in ensuring space for all. But failures in plan implementation have generally resulted in the powerful capturing more urban land than is their just due. Thus there are farmhouses, large industries, big showrooms, etc, where none were intended. In the process, small homes and establishments have been pushed into slums and slum-like conditions. And large homes and establishments also contribute to slumming by leading to shortages of water, electricity, parking, etc, since (planned) infrastructure provision did not anticipate them. Indeed, urban equity and carrying capacity concerns are intrinsically connected and planned development of cities is, or should be, all about matching resources with needs, eyes set firmly on both these concerns.

Retroactive regularization or unplanned, hasty and sub-standard relocation of industries, slums, etc, cannot be a substitute for pro-active planning. It only exacerbates slumming—not only by maintaining or recreating slum-like conditions for the ‘poor’ but also by encouraging lawlessness among the powerful by condoning (rather than correcting) the subversion of planned development.

With willful planning for the past (in the service of the Great Terrain Robbery) becoming not only the accepted but the expected instrument of urban development, our cities have entered the fast lane to total slumming.

  • 1. Much of this section was published as a paper by the author in Habitat Journal, Vol. 24, March 2000, pp.91-117.
  • 2. ‘Gandi bastiyon ke liye chaubis crore ki yojna’ (‘Scheme worth Rs 24 crore for slums’), Nai Duniya, 8 October 1987.
  • 3. ‘Slums typically cover only about 5 per cent of the land area of cities… It is thus possible to have a massive impact on the city and its infrastructure by working only in these very small areas. Concentrating resources in these neediest areas is thus very cost effective. (Diacon, D., Slum Networking: An Innovative Approach to Urban Development, Building and Social Housing Foundation, Coalville, Leicestershire, UK, 1997, p. 11.)
  • 4. ‘ODA project par antim hastakshar’ (‘Final signatures on ODA Project’), Nai Duniya, 8 March 1989.
  • 5. ODA project ke bad ki zimmedari nigam uthayega’ (‘IMC will take over maintenance responsibilities after the ODA project’), Nai Duniya, 19 May 1989; ‘Gandi basti or nadi paryavaran sudhar yojna ki swikriti’ (‘Slum and river environment improvement scheme sanctioned’), Nai Duniya, 3 December 1989.
  • 6. ‘ODA project ke antargat isi mah 6 bastiyon mein kaam’ (‘Works to start this month in six slums under the ODA project’), Nai Duniya, 3 January 1990.
  • 7. Tang bastiyon mein samudayik vikas ka silsila shuru’ (‘Community development works started in slums’), Nai Duniya, 17 March1990; ‘Pehle samudayik bhawan ka udghatan 29 ko’ (‘The first community hall to be inaugurated on 29th’), Nai Duniya, 28 August 1990; ‘Samudayik bhawan mein gatividhiyan shuru nahin hui’ (‘Activities have not started in the community hall’), Nai Duniya, 14. November 1990; ‘ODA yojna ke tahat 40 BVM gathit’ (‘40 Neighbourhood Development Groups formed under the ODA project’), Nai Duniya, 29 December 1990.
  • 8. ‘ODA project ki samiksha hetu samiti’ (‘Committee for reviewing ODA project’), Nai Duniya, 15 February 1991.
  • 9. Data chust “pata” sust’ (‘Donor brisk, receiver lethargic’), Nai Duniya, 8 November 1990; ‘Jhuggivasiyon ne rally nikali, gyapan diya’ (‘Slumdwellers took out a rally, submitted a memorandum’), Nai Duniya, 1April 1991; ‘British dal swasth gatividhiyon se asantusht’ (‘British team not satisfied with health activities’), Nai Duniya, 17 November 1990.
  • 10. Based on the author’s notes of a workshop attended as an observer as part of a consultancy to develop a training manual for future workshops on Action Planning for Urban Poverty Alleviation under Indian Human Settlements Programme, HSMI, New Delhi.
  • 11. ‘British adhikariyon ne pradhikaran ki prashansa ki’ (‘British officials praise IDA’), Nai Duniya, 29 January 1992; ‘British adhikari ODA project ki pragati se santusht’ (‘British officials satisfied with the progress of the ODA project’), Nai Duniya, 28 May 1992.
  • 12. Jhuggi bastiyon mein nirman aur sajawat ke kai karya’ (‘Many construction and decoration works in slums’), Nai Duniya, 22 January 1993
  • 13. ‘Jhuggivasi vikas karyon ka shre John Major ko dete hain’ (‘Slum dwellers give credit of development activities to John Major”), Nai Duniya, 24 January 1993.
  • 14. ‘John Major ko rijhane ke liye nakli swarg’ (‘Fake heaven to impress John Major’), Nai Duniya, 23 January 1993
  • 15. Nai Duniya, 23 January 1993.
  • 16. From his remark in the register of one of the slums visited by him.
  • 17. ‘ODA project ki avadhi 95 tak badai’ (‘ODA project term extended to 1995’), Nai Duniya, 27 July 1993.
  • 18. ‘Bhim nagar ko adarsh basti maan kar vikas karya karen’ (‘Carry out development works considering Bhim Nagar a model slum’), Nai Duniya, 12 January 1994.
  • 19. The author got to see this unedited tape when asked to help with transcribing and translating.
  • 20. ‘TV set community hall ke bajaye makan mein’ (‘TV set in house instead of community hall’), Nai Duniya, 11 August 1993.
  • 21. ‘Pradhikaran ke karyon ki janch karvayen’ (‘Institute an inquiry into the works by IDA’), Nai Duniya, 3 August 1992.
  • 22. ‘Tang bastiyon mein swasthya shiviron ka ayojan’ (‘Health camps arranged in slums’), Nai Duniya, 1 June 1993; ‘Jal mal nikas ki vyavastha hoti to hadsa tal sakta tha’ (‘The disaster could have been averted if there was a system of sewage disposal’), Nai Duniya, 31 May 1993.
  • 23. ‘Kab badlegi taswir’ (‘When will the picture change?’), Nai Duniya, 19 June 1993. This was a more than half-page article in ‘Focus’, a section that carries a box at the top with the appeal: ‘If you consider this matter important please send this clipping with your endorsement to whoever you consider the most powerful public representative’.)
  • 24. Diacon, D., Slum Networking (Note 3 above), p. ix.
  • 25. Ibid., p. 68.
  • 26. ‘Ghatiya samagri ka arop’ (‘Use of sub-standard material alleged’), Nai Duniya, 1 April 1994. (Incidentally, this allegation came from one of the ‘showcase’ slums of the IHIP); ‘Dhanrashi ki barbadi’ (‘Waste of money’), Nai Duniya, 27 April 1994.
  • 27. ‘Shahar ki tang bastiyon mein kichad aur gandagi se rehvasi pareshan’ (‘Residents in the city’s slums fed up with slush and filth’), Nai Duniya, 13 June 1994.
  • 28. ‘Chabbis lakh ke ghatiya pipe kharide’ (‘Sub-standard pipes worth 26 lakh bought’), Nai Duniya, 29 July 1994.
  • 29. ‘Indore ko vishvstariye samman, basti sudhar pariyojna ko safalta’ (‘Worldwide honour for Indore, success for slum improvement project’), Nai Duniya, 23 July 1994.
  • 30. ‘Pakistan sahit 14 deshon ke pratinidhi is mah Indore aayenge’ (‘Representatives from fourteen countries including Pakistan will visit Indore this month’), Nai Duniya, 1 November 1995.
  • 31. Diacon, D., Slum Networking (Note 3 above), p. 67.
  • 32. ‘Videshi pratinidhiyon dwara tang bastiyon ka daura’ (‘Foreign delegates visit slums’), Nai Duniya, 23 November 1995.
  • 33. ‘Adhyan dal ne ODA karyon ki sarahna ki’ (‘Study group appreciated ODA’), Nai Duniya, 24 November 1995.
  • 34. Diacon, D., Slum Networking (Note 3 above), p. 68; ‘Indore ki sarahna karte hue laute videshi’ (‘Foreigners return praising Indore’), Nai Duniya, 26 November 1995
  • 35. ‘Shahr ki tang bastiyon mein malaria piriton ka survey’ (‘Survey of malaria victims in the city’s slums’), Nai Duniya, 22 October 1995; ‘Tang bastiyon mein 11,000 se adhik jwar pirit paye gaye’ (‘More than 11000 malaria victims found in slums’), Nai Duniya, 19 November 1995.
  • 36. ‘Basti vikas mandalon ki gatha chinta janak’ (‘Worrying tale of neighborhood groups’), Nai Duniya, 14 June 1995.
  • 37. ‘Tang bastiyon ke sambandh mein tin-pakshiye anubandh ab tak nahin’ (‘Still no tripartite agreement regarding slums’), Nai Duniya, 17 June 1995.
  • 38. ‘India’s initiatives for the Habitat II Conference, Istanbul, 3-14 June, 1996’, Shelter (the official newsletter of HUDCO), January 1996, pp. 18-19.
  • 39. ‘Tang bastiyon mein nigam dwara vishesh safai abhiyan shuru’ (‘Special cleanliness drive in slums by Corporation commences’), Nai Duniya, 24 July 1996; ‘Varsha ke bad jhuggi vasiyon ki samasyaen badi’ (‘Problems of slum dwellers increase after rains’), Nai Duniya, 11 August 1996; ‘Aadhe adhure nirman karyon se kai kshetron mein pareshani badi’ (‘Incomlete development works increase problems in many places’), Nai Duniya, 26 September 1996. ‘Ghatia nirman karya’ (‘Poor quality development work’), Nai Duniya, 30 December 1996.
  • 40. ‘Pariyojna ke sambandh mein vichar ke liye baithak’ (‘Meeting to deliberate on the Project’), Nai Duniya, 12 March 1997; ‘Indore kei ki ODA pariyojna ko jari rakhne ke prayas’ (‘Efforts to keep Indore’s ODA project going’), Nai Duniya, 15 March 1997; ‘ODA pariyojna ki avdhi teen mahine aur barai’ (‘ODA extends duration of its project by three more months’), Nai Duniya, 21 March 1997.
  • 41. ‘Shahar ki karib 100 bastiyon mein jal sankat utpan hone ki ashanka’ (‘Danger of water contamination in about 100 slums in the city’), Nai Duniya, 4 March 1997; ‘Krishnapura jheel mein sandadh, malaria or dengue rog phailne ka khatra’ (‘Sewage in Krishnapura Lake, danger of malaria and dengue spreading’), Nai Duniya, 13 March 1997.
  • 42. The author was the senior consultant for this study.
  • 43. ‘Kalalkui…pipe bane pareshani ka karan’ (‘IDA’s pipes cause nuisance in Kalakui’), Nav Bharat, 23 June 1997.
  • 44. ‘…sewer line ke prati nigam ka asantosh’ (‘IMC dissatisfied with IDA’s sewer line’), Nai Duniya, 22 October 1997
  • 45. ‘Mahapor ne kaha: takniki drishti se sahi nahi hain tang bastiyon ki drainage line’ (‘Mayor says drainage lines in slums not technically sound’), Nai Duniya, 12 November 1997
  • 46. ‘ODA…bastiyan vastav main nigam ki hi hain!’ (‘ODA slums are IMC’s!’), Nai Duniya, 15 November 1997.
  • 47. ‘Bhraman ke dauran sambhag ayukt ne anek bastiyon mein drainage ki samasya dekhi’ (‘Divisional Commissioner saw drainage problems in several slums in course of round’), Nai Duniya, 14 November 1997.
  • 48. ‘Saath crore kharch karke bhi halat nahin sudhri’ (‘Conditions have not improved even after spending 600 million’), Nai Duniya, 9 March 1998.
  • 49. ‘Stinking lake shows lack of IDA care’, Free Press, 18 April 1998.
  • 50. ‘Kewal goliyan bantne se dushit jal ki samasya hal nahin hogi’ (‘The problem of contaminated water is not going to be solved by distributing tablets’), Dainik Bhaskar, 26 June 1998.
  • 51. ‘Ulti-dast ka prakop phaila, do mrityu aur’ (‘Water-borne diseases spread; two more deaths’), Nav Bharat, 26 June 1998.
  • 52. ‘Ulti-dast pe niyantran nahin kiya to mahamari ki ashanka: tang bastiyan adhik badhali mein’ (‘Danger of epidemics if water-borne diseases are not controlled: slums in worse conditions’), Nai Duniya, 27 June 1998.
  • 53. Sen, Pritha, ‘Winning Designs’, Outlook, 19 October 1998.
  • 54. Government of India, Draft National Slum Policy, 1999, Para-A, ‘Objectives’, p. 1, Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment.
  • 55. Ibid., Para-C-6, ‘Resettlement and Rehabilitation’, pp. 8-9.
  • 56. Ibid., Para-C-15-g-iv, ‘Financing Shelter Upgradation/Targeting EWS/LIG Housing Schemes’, p. 36.
  • 57. Ibid., ‘Monitoring and Evaluation’, p. 39.
  • 58. Ibid., Para-C-1, ‘“Inclusive” Approach to Definition of Slum/Informal Settlement’, p. 3.
  • 59. Government of India, Draft National Slum Policy, 1999, Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment. The section on ‘Granting of Tenure’ says ‘Land for in-situ upgradation projects should be designated as high density mixed use’ (Para C-5-d, ‘Land Use Classification’, p. 7). This is reiterated in the section on ‘Planning for Integration’, which speaks of ensuring that ‘all Master Plans and Land Use plans allow for high density, mixed use (for micro-enterprise) land occupation in all slums/informal settlements.’ It goes on to add that ‘All plans and other regulatory instruments must provide sufficient flexibility to modify layouts and building regulations in line with more realistic density/mixed use requirements’ (Para-C-7-a, ‘Modify Existing Planning Framework’, pp. 10-11). Once again, in the section on ‘Shelter Upgradation’ the entire discussion on ‘Land for Affordable Housing’ (Para-C-15-a, p. 32) and nearly the entire discussion on ‘Rationalization of Norms and Standards’ (Para-C-15-c, p. 33) is about high-density mixed land use.
  • 60. Draft National Slum Policy, 1999, Para-B, ‘Governing Principles’, #4, p. 2; Para-B, ‘Governing Principles’, #6, p. 2.
  • 61. In fact the discussion on ‘Land for Affordable Housing’ (Para-C-15-a) is limited to just this suggestion; Para-C-9-b-i, ‘Primary Education’, p. 18; Para-12-a-iii, ‘Role of Private Sector’, p. 23.
  • 62. Draft National Slum Policy, 1999, Para-B, ‘Governing Principles’, #5, p. 2.
  • 63. Ibid., Para-B, ‘Governing Principles’, #5, p. 2; Para-C-7-a-ii, ‘Planning for Integration…’, p. 11.
  • 64. Ibid., Para-C-8, ‘Environmental Improvement’, p. 12.
  • 65. Ibid., Para-C-9, ‘Improving Access to Social Services’, pp. 16-17.
  • 66. Ibid., Para-C-7-a, ‘Modify Existing Planning Framework’, p. 10.
  • 67. Ibid., Para-C-2-a, ‘Comprehensive Listing of Slums/Informal Settlements’, p. 4.
  • 68. Ibid., Para-C-2-b, ‘Registration of Slum Dwellers’, p. 4.
  • 69. Ibid., Para-C-2-c, ‘Identity Card’, p. 4.
  • 70. Ibid., Para-C-2-d, ‘Basic Service Eligibility’, p. 4.
  • 71. Ibid., Para-6, ‘Resettlement and Rehabilitation’, pp. 9-10.
  • 72. ‘SC fixes civic code: No slums, no littering’, Times of India, 18 February 2000; ‘SC bans slums’, Indian Express, 18 February 2000; ‘SC bans slums in Delhi’, The Statesman, 18 February 2000; ‘Litterbugs to be fined Rs 50’, Hindustan Times, 18 February 2000.
  • 73. ‘Good news about garbage’, The Hindu, 19 March 2000.
  • 74. ‘Housing and dignity: Universal rights’, The Statesman, 10 April 2000.
  • 75. ‘Thank God the Supreme Court is in Delhi!’, Times of India, 21 February 2000.
  • 76. ‘Dirty Delhi: Our roads are giant trash bins’, Times of India, 24 February 2000; ‘Watch your step, litterbugs’, Times of India, 24 February 2000.
  • 77. ‘Delhi is still dirty: MCD, NDMC bugged with problems in nabbing litterbugs’, Times of India, 23 February 2000.
  • 78. ‘Govt will set up mobile courts to punish litterbugs’, Hindustan Times, 24 February 2000; ‘Watch your step, litterbugs’ (Note 76 above).
  • 79. ‘MCD to have own system to follow SC directive on city clean-up’, Hindustan Times, 26 February 2000.
  • 80. ‘MCD staff to clean city on holidays too’, Hindustan Times, 29 February 2000.
  • 81. ‘Day 1: Litterbugs thumb their noses at MCD’, Hindustan Times, 4 March 2000; ‘Dirty Delhi: Why the city is never clean’, Times of India, 27 August 2000.
  • 82. ‘First day of drive: MCD focusses on awareness building’, Times of India, 5 March 2000.
  • 83. ‘Govt to appoint 100 executive magistrates to rein in litterbugs’, Hindustan Times, 5 March 2000.
  • 84. ‘Shopkeepers mainly being fined for littering’, Times of India, 3 May 2000.
  • 85. ‘Garbage smears Clean Delhi dream’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 7 August 2000.
  • 86. ‘SC castigates govt, DDA, NDMC over solid waste disposal’, Daily Pioneer, 25 August 2000; ‘Supreme Court tells lazy MCD to clean up city’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 25 August 2000; ‘SC directive to DDA on waste disposal’, The Hindu, 25 August 2000; ‘MCD to generate electricity from garbage waste’ Daily Pioneer, 25 August 2000; ‘Clean up Delhi, SC tells MCD, DDA’, Times of India, 25 August 2000; ‘Start door-to-door garbage collection’, Hindustan Times, 25 August 2000; ‘SC directs “lethargic” MCD to start door-to-door collection of garbage’, Indian Express, 25 August 2000.
  • 87. ‘SC castigates govt’, (Note 86 above).
  • 88. ‘MCD begins door-to-door garbage collection’, Times of India, 31 August 2000; ‘Door-to-door garbage collection extended’, Hindustan Times, 31 August 2000.
  • 89. ‘Waste piles up as MCD faces trolley truck crunch’, Times of India, 23 September 2000.
  • 90. Para 4.4 of edited draft of NEERI’s study report on ‘Solid waste in Delhi’ for DDA (unpublished), 1998.
  • 91. Ibid.
  • 92. Ibid., Para 5.3 and Para 6.3
  • 93. ‘MCD to set up new compost plants for management of solid waste’, Hindustan Times, 25 February 2000; ‘10 new compost plants for the city’, Times of India, 25 February 2000.
  • 94. ‘MCD facing landfill crunch’, Hindustan Times, 27 February 2000.
  • 95. ‘Govt decides to manage colossal city waste’, Daily Pioneer, 5 June 2000; ‘Garbage collection rickshaws to be introduced in city today’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 5 June 2000.
  • 96. ‘High court seeks records on order for the removal of slum clusters’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 1 April 2000.
  • 97. Ibid.
  • 98. ‘I will not allow uprooting of slum dwellers, says V.P. Singh’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 25 March 2000; ‘VP opposes eviction of slum dwellers’, Times of India, 25 March 2000; ‘VP vows to thwart move to demolish jhuggi cluster’, Hindustan Times, 25 March 2000.
  • 99. ‘VP Singh saves 30,000 jhuggis at Wazirpur’, Times of India, 26 March 2000; ‘Change attitude toward slum dwellers, says V P Singh’, Hindustan Times, 26 March 2000.
  • 100. ‘Demolition delay victory for poor: V.P.’ , Asian Age (Delhi Age), 27 March 2000.
  • 101. ‘VP stir pays off, squatters of Azad Colony to be given alternate sites’, Hindustan Times, 28 March 2000.
  • 102. ‘Rlys not liable to compensate uprooted slum-dwellers’, Hindustan Times, 29 March 2000.
  • 103. ‘Breather to govt on rly land slums’, Indian Express, 16 May 2000
  • 104. ‘Govt pulled up over rly encroachments’, Times of India, 5 April 2000.
  • 105. ‘Life for Mumbai railway shanties’, The Statesman, 5 May 2000.
  • 106. ‘Slum demolitions to put trains on fast track’, Times of India, 4 April 2000; ‘Life for Mumbai railway shanties’, The Statesman, 5 March 2000.
  • 107. ‘Railways’ slum demolition drive faces derailment’, Times of India, 2 July 2000.
  • 108. ‘Rlys pull down hutments along Harbour line’, Times of India, 1 March 2000; ‘Life for Mumbai railway shanties’(Note 106 above).
  • 109. ‘Slum demolitions to put trains on fast track’(Note 106 above).
  • 110. ‘Railways’ slum demolition drive’ (Note 107 above).
  • 111. ‘Life for Mumbai railway shanties’, (Note 108 above).
  • 112. ‘Govt pulled up over rly encroachments’, (Note 104 above); ‘Life for Mumbai railway shanties’, (Note 106 above); ‘Railways’ slum demolition drive’ (Note 107 above).
  • 113. ‘Survey to identify slum dwellers near rail tracks’, Times of India, 13 March 2000; ‘Slum demolitions’, (Note 109 above).
  • 114. ‘Role of charitable trust in rehabilitation questioned: Citizens speak out against halting of demolition drive’, Times of India, 9 March 2000.
  • 115. ‘Govt pulled up over rly encroachments’, (Note 104 above).
  • 116. ‘Role of charitable trust questioned’, (Note 114 above).
  • 117. ‘Govt pulled up over rly encroachments’, (Note 104 above).
  • 118. Slum demolitions’, (Note 109 above).
  • 119. ‘Railways’ slum demolition drive’ (Note 107 above).
  • 120. ‘Rlys, state clash in HC over encroachments’, Indian Express, 29 June 2000; ‘Railways’ slum demolition drive’ (Note 107 above).
  • 121. ‘Rlys, state clash in HC’, (Note 120 above).
  • 122. ‘Central Railways’ demolition drive begins’, Times of India, 31 October 2000; ‘300 hutments along Harbour line demolished’, Times of India, 2 November 2000.
  • 123. ‘Govt told to clear Sanjay Gandhi Park of encroachers by March’, Times of India, 3 March 2000
  • 124. ‘Slum-dwellers vandalise BJP office in Mulund’, Times of India, 10 March 2000.
  • 125. ‘Angry slum-dwellers bundled out of court’, Times of India, 14 March 2000.
  • 126. ‘National park slum-dwellers watch film for a “rebirth”’, Times of India, 17 March 2000.
  • 127. ‘Lack of transparency raises doubts about motive behind rehabilitation’, Times of India, 27 March 2000
  • 128. ‘Census of slum-dwellers proposed’, Times of India, 19 April 2000.
  • 129. ‘HC questions govt stand on slum removal’, Times of India, 30 April 2000.
  • 130. ‘V.P. Singh takes up cudgels on behalf of slum-dwellers’, Times of India, 25 April 2000.
  • 131. ‘HC stays demolitions at Carvallo Nagar’, Times of India, 30 April 2000; ‘Demolitions to continue at Sanjay park’, Times of India, 1 May 2000.
  • 132. ‘Demolitions go on amid tight security’, Times of India, 4 May 2000
  • 133. ‘Slum-dwellers move apex court’, Times of India, 8 May 2000.
  • 134. ‘SC rejects Borivli park dwellers' plea’, Indian Express, 10 May 2000.
  • 135. ‘Slum dwellers must have a say: VP’, Times of India, 31 March 2000; ‘VP Singh’s political sanyas ends, rally planned on May 16’, Hindustan Times, 31 March 2000.
  • 136. ‘Wield lathis for your right, VP exhorts jhuggi dwellers’, Hindustan Times, 17 April 2000.
  • 137. Singh, Vishwanath Pratap, ‘Sheltering sky’, Hindustan Times, 28 April 2000.
  • 138. ‘Slum-dwellers to take out rally on May 22’, The Hindu, 20 May 2000.
  • 139. ‘V.P. Singh in favour of a policy for urban poor’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 20 May 2000; ‘VP Singh calls for national slum policy’, Daily Pioneer, 20 May 2000.
  • 140. ‘Make right to house a fundamental right: VP’, Hindustan Times, 22 May 2000; ‘Don’t bulldoze slum-dwellers: V.P. Singh’, The Hindu, 22 May 2000.
  • 141. Sajha Manch’s letter (dated 3 May 2000, from its convener Dunu Roy) inviting participation for its meeting to discuss the draft national policy on 20 May 2000.
  • 142. ‘Maharashtra asked to evolve new policy for slum dwellers’, The Hindu, 24 April 2000; ‘Experts discuss national slum policy’, Times of India, 29 April 2000.
  • 143. Draft National Slum Policy, 1999, Para-C-2b ‘Registration of slum dwellers’, p. 4.
  • 144. Ibid., Para-C-5a, ‘Tenure on Government Owned Land’, p. 5.
  • 145. ‘Railways, HUDCO sign MoU’, Hindustan Times, 14 January 2000.
  • 146. Ibid.
  • 147. ‘V.P. Singh upstages Cong, BJP in Delhi?’, Hindustan Times, 26 March 2000.
  • 148. ‘Sonia’s concern for slum dwellers in flyover function’, Times of India, 10 May 2000; ‘Slum-dwellers must be relocated: Sonia’, Hindustan Times, 10 May 2000; ‘Sonia favours alternate dwellings for slum people’, Asian Age, 10 May 2000; ‘New homes for moved poor a must: Sonia’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 10 May 2000.
  • 149. ‘Delhi announces new slum policy’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 11 May 2000; ‘Deadline for relocation of slum dwellers extended’, Times of India, 11 May 2000.
  • 150. ‘MCD staff to clean city on holidays too’(Note 80 above).
  • 151. Sammelan” of jhuggi residents on new policy’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 29 May 2000.
  • 152. ‘Encroachment policy: A wild goose chase’, The Statesman, 24 May 2000.
  • 153. ‘British expertise for Delhi’, The Hindu, 25 May 2000.
  • 154. ‘MPs urge PM to stop “senseless demolitions”’, Hindustan Times, 13 May 2000.
  • 155. ‘BJP MPs urge PM to “rein in” Jagmohan’, Hindustan Times, 16 May 2000.
  • 156. ‘Project for 60,000 displaced slum-dwellers: Jagmohan’, Indian Express, 11 July 2000; ‘Loans, schools and security for Narela families’, Times of India, 11 July 2000; ‘No new slum, says Jagmohan’, The Hindu, 11 July 2000; ‘Jagmohan now targets squatters’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 11 July 2000.
  • 157. ‘Walia seeks upgradation of jhuggi clusters’, Hindustan Times, 21 July 2000; ‘Walia demands for JJ Cluster up gradation’, Daily Pioneer, 21 July 2000; ‘Walia demands better deal for jhuggi dwellers’, Times of India, 21 July 2000.
  • 158. ‘Slums born before Jan 1998 not to be demolished’, Times of India, 7 October 2000; ‘Delhi’s slum policy awaits Centre’s nod’, Times of India, 10 October 2000.
  • 159. ‘Centre to come out with human settlement policy: Jagmohan’, Times of India, 19 November 2000.
  • 160. Ministry for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Istanbul + 5 UNCHS(Habitat) Conference 2001: INDIA National Report–Progress of Implementation of the Habitat Agenda (1996-2000), p. 9, Government of India.
  • 161. From a note circulated by Almitra Patel amongst a few people for comments.
  • 162. ‘HUDCO loan for IMC may be a far cry…’, Free Press, 5 November 2000.
  • 163. ‘Minister to make on-the-spot study of problems of city’, Free Press, 4 November 2000. 3
  • 164. ‘Khub ghume par kuch na bole Jagmohan’ (‘Jagmohan roamed a lot but did not say anything’), Chautha Sansar, 5 November 2000. 4
  • 165. ‘Bhagdaurh vala raha Jagmohan ka teen ghante ka shahar bhraman’ (‘Jagmohan’s three hour city trip was very hectic’), Navbharat, 5 November 2000; ‘Uncleji bijli ka bill kam kara den; keechar bhari sarak par chalkar dikhayen’ (‘Uncle get our electricity bill reduced; walk on the slushy street and show us’), Agnibaan, 5 November 2000.
  • 166. ‘Kendriye mantri jagmohan indore ki tang bastiyon mein char ghante ghumte rahe’ (‘Union Minister Jagmohan kept roaming in Indore’s slums for four hours’), Indore Samachar, 6 November 2000.
  • 167. ‘Pehle sunte rahe, phir poochhtaachh ki, madad ke sanket bhi diye’ (‘First he kept listening, then he made inquiries, he also hinted at help’), Dainik Bhaskar, 5 November 2000.
  • 168. ‘Minister announces plans for Indore’, HT Indore Live, 6 November 2000; ‘Indore ko diye jane wale sambhavit sahayog ki suchi’ (‘List of assistance likely to be given to Indore’), Nai Duniya, 6 November 2000; ‘Indore ke liye anek ghoshnaen’ (‘Several announcements for Indore’), Swadesh, 6 November 2000.
  • 169. ‘Vahan ek bhi bal shramik nahin; saare bache school jate hain’ (‘Not even one child worker there; all children go to school’), Agnibaan, 5 November 2000; ‘Indore vikas ke raste nikalenge’ (‘Will find ways for Indore’s development’), Navbharat, 5 November 2000; ‘Nagrik shahron mein anushasan viksit karen va bhu mafia se dat kar ladhen’ (‘Citizens must develop discipline in cities and fight land mafia’), Nai Duniya, 5 November 2000; ‘Jan bhagidari se Indore ka vikas karen’ (‘Develop Indore with citizens’ participation’), Swadesh, 5 November 2000
  • 170. 'Perseverance needed to make Indore ideal city', Free Press, 5 Novemebr 2000.
  • 171. ‘Jan bhagidari’ (‘Develop Indore with citizens’ participation’ (Note 169 above).
  • 172. ‘HUDCO office in city soon’, Free Press, 5 November 2000.
  • 173. ‘Shahron ke vikas ke liye samanvit prayas ki zaroorat: Shri Jagmohan’ (‘Coordinated effort needed for urban development: Shri Jagmohan’), Indore Samachar, 5 November 2000; ‘Indore ki vikas yojnaon ko Delhi mein gati denge shri Jagmohan’ (‘Shri Jagmohan will hasten Indore’s development schemes in Delhi’), Nai Duniya, 6 November 2000.
  • 174. ‘Shahron ke vikas ke liye’ (‘Coordinated effort needed’) (Note 173 above).
  • 175. ‘HUDCO office in city soon’, Free Press, 5 November 2000.
  • 176. ‘Mob gheraos MCD official’, Indian Express, 18 November 2000.
  • 177. ‘Sealing of units: Workers wall up against MCD’, Indian Express, 19 November 2000; ‘Polluting units’ workers take to streets in protest’, Hindustan Times, 19 November 2000.
  • 178. ‘Roadblocks to cleaner Delhi: Traders stymie drive against polluting units’, Hindustan Times, 20 November 2000; ‘A day of traffic snarls’, Times of India, 20 November 2000; ‘Traffic held to ransom; Delhi bandh today’, Daily Pioneer, 20 November 2000; ‘Closure of units causing unrest’, The Hindu, 20 November 2000.
  • 179. MLAs promise chaos in House over units’ closure’, Times of India, 20 November 2000. (‘The entire city witnessed so many protests that we have to take up the cause now…,’ said a BJP MLA.)
  • 180. File review plea in SC, DPCC urges govt’, Hindustan Times, 20 November 2000
  • 181. ‘Khurana seeks PM’s intervention to solve problems of units in non-conforming areas’, Hindustan Times, 20 November 2000.
  • 182. ‘Police under pressure to go slow on protesters’, Times of India, 21 November 2000. (‘At scores of places, the police’s presence and action at trouble spots seemed more routine than special… Officially, the police say they aren't using force because the violence could spread. But Delhi Police’s own record in handling such crises in the past is a potent example of how things are different… Police chief Ajai Raj Sharma said at a press conference that four Rapid Action Force companies had been summoned. In the Seelampur riots last month, geographically a much smaller area, over eight companies of additional forces had been pressed into service… The entire Vikas Marg, for instance, remained closed to traffic for much of the day, even as a handful of policemen looked on…at another trouble spot near Swaran Cinema in east Delhi, the police displayed “remarkable restraint” despite an additional sessions judge being attacked by a mob…’.)
  • 183. ‘Mobs, protesting against relocation, ravage Delhi’, Hindustan Times, 21 November 2000; ‘Who blamed who as Delhi burned’, Hindustan Times, 21 November 2000; ‘Lawless Delhi’, Hindustan Times, 21 November 2000; ‘Industrial workers’ stir: All schools closed for two days’, Hindustan Times, 21 November 2000; ‘Agitating mob hold Delhi to ransom; govt refuses to budge’, Indian Express, 21 November 2000; ‘Mobs hold Delhi to ransom over SC order’, Times of India, 21 November 2000; ‘Workers’ fury’, Daily Pioneer, 21 November 2000; ‘Delhi protestors go on the rampage’, The Hindu, 21 November 2000.
  • 184. Violent mob ravages MTNL office’, Hindustan Times, 21 November 2000; ‘Vehicles set ablaze, Rs 5 lakh cash, cheques looted’, Hindustan Times, 21 November 2000; ‘Karkardooma court judge’s car attacked’, Hindustan Times, 21 November 2000; ‘Rioting workers take over north, west and east’, Indian Express, 21 November 2000; ‘Injured protestors, cops lie side by side’, Indian Express, 21 November 2000; ‘Students caught in middle’, Indian Express, 21 November 2000; ‘Stranded buses leave school children in a lurch’, Times of India, 21 November 2000; ‘Why office-goers got late’, Times of India, 21 November 2000; ‘Delhi comes to a halt’, Daily Pioneer, 21 November 2000; ‘Schools shut down as buses go off the road’, Daily Pioneer, 21 November 2000.
  • 185. ‘Intelligence inputs hint at more violence’, Hindustan Times, 22 November 2000; ‘Disturbed area residents will bear cost of addl. force, warns police chief’, Hindustan Times, 22 November 2000; ‘Day Three of Capital punishment’, Times of India, 22 November 2000
  • 186. City page headlines on 22 November 2000 said it all. ‘BJP flays Dikshit, Cong targets MCD’, Indian Express; ‘Chief secretary must be sacked: M.L. Khurana’, Indian Express; ‘Mayor is to blame: Cong councillors’, Hindustan Times; ‘Word “polluting” missing from Industries closure notification, Environment Secy blamed’, Hindustran Times; ‘‘Misinterpretation” of order on units: Khurana, Sahib blame it on Sheila’, Hindustan Times; ‘“Operation shut down” disrupts MCD House meet’, Times of India; ‘Assembly adjourned amid unruly scenes’, Hindustan Times; ‘Assembly adjourned amid trading of charges, slogan shouting’, Times of India; ‘House adjourned, MLAs march to PM’s residence in protest’, Daily Pioneer; ‘Sheila Dixit leads march’, The Hindu; ‘Cong factionalism evident in MLAs’ meeting with PM’, Hindustan Times; ‘Sheila: PM assures of relief measures’ , Daily Pioneer. There was a feeling in many quarters that the previous day’s events had been exaggerated. Police Commissioner Sharma was ‘quick to volunteer a detailed list of over 35 spots, where violence had taken place and that more was likely’. He even went to the extent of saying a train engine had been burnt in Shalimar Bagh. Later, when the media went to the spot, only an engine driver had been beaten-up. He also said a liquor shop in Farsh Bazar was robbed by the mobs, a detail which normally would have been hidden. (‘Police under pressure’, Note 7 above.)
  • 187. ‘Law and order slightly better; Capital, however, witnesses traffic snarls’, Hindustan Times, 22 November 2000; ‘Commuters on NH-8 have harrowing time’, Hindustan Times, 22 November 2000; ‘Stir impact’, Hindustan Times, 22 November 2000; ‘Intelligence inputs’ (Note 10 above); ‘Disturbed area residents’ (note 10 above), ‘Traffic chaos spills over to Faridabad’, Times of India, 22 November 2000; ‘Some relief for Delhiites on the 2nd day’, Daily Pioneer, 22 November 2000.
  • 188. ‘Day Three of Capital punishment’ (Note 10 above); ‘Monday violence: Kavir Nagar mourns firing-victim Irfan’, Hindustan Times, 23 November 2000.
  • 189. ‘Injured protestors, cops lie side by side’ (Note 9 above); ‘Neighbours see “martyr” in accident victim’, Times of India, 22 November 2000.
  • 190. ‘Panicky Delhi govt rushes to SC over riots, gets thumbs down’, Indian Express, 22 November 2000; ‘SC will not yield to stir on polluting units’, The Hindu, 22 November 2000; ‘SC raps Delhi govt for being held to ransom’, Times of India, 22 November 2000; ‘Don’t go slow on crackdown on polluting units, Delhi govt told’, Hindustan Times, 22 November 2000.
  • 191. ‘City govt list of hazardous units incomplete’, Times of India, 2 May 1995.
  • 192. ‘CM promises action plan on relocation’, Times of India, 1 April 1995.
  • 193. ‘Nearly half the polluting units may raise objections’, Times of India, 27 November 1995.
  • 194. ‘Midnight knock for eco-unfriendly business in Capital’, Times of India, 30 November 1996.
  • 195. ‘Industrial units contest pollution board’s criteria’, Times of India, 17 September 1997; ‘Polluting units say no retrenchment’, Times of India, 2 December 1996.
  • 196. ‘Polluting units: SC lands greedy ones in trouble’, Times of India, 5 December 1996.
  • 197. ‘Workers yet to receive compensation’, Times of India (Delhi Times), 24 June 1997.
  • 198. ‘Delhi Industries Minister Harsharan Singh Balli’, Times of India Q&A, 27 May 1997.
  • 199. Dasgupta, Nandini, ‘Tall blunders’, Down to Earth, 30 September 1998.
  • 200. ‘Labour pains’, Down to Earth, 28 February 1999.
  • 201. ‘Master Plan anarchy’, Down to Earth, 31 December 2000.
  • 202. ‘Delhi govt to petition SC on relocation of industrial units’, Times of India, 15 September 1999.
  • 203. ‘Govt has 6 days for relocation’, Times of India, 25 October 1996.
  • 204. ‘Congress, BJP pass the buck over relocation of industries’, Times of India, 23 October 1999.
  • 205. Dasgupta, ‘Tall Blunders’ (Note 24 above).
  • 206. ‘Workers yet to receive compensation’ (Note 22 above).
  • 207. ‘CM promises action plan on relocation’ (Note 17 above).
  • 208. ‘Delhi Finance Corporation will fund relocation of industries’, Times of India, 1 October 1997.
  • 209. ‘25000 industries face closure’, Times of India, 9 December 1999.
  • 210. ‘Govt rethinks on shifting industries’, Times of India, 5 June 1999.
  • 211. ‘Delhi govt yet to get land to relocate industries’, Times of India (Delhi Times), 7 December 1999.
  • 212. ‘Govt rethinks on shifting industries’ (Note 35 above).
  • 213. ‘Delhi govt to petition SC on relocation of industrial units’, Times of India, 15 September 1999.
  • 214. ‘Delhi govt yet to get land’ (Note 36 above); ‘25,000 industries face closure’ (Note 34 above).
  • 215. ‘25000 industries face closure’ (Note 34 above).
  • 216. ‘Reviving the dying Yamuna’, Times of India (Delhi Times), 24 May 1999.
  • 217. ‘The Delhi stretch of Yamuna is “all sewage”’, Times of India, 25 January 2000.
  • 218. ‘Master Plan Anarchy’ (Note 26 above).
  • 219. ‘Rs 2000-cr plan to clean the Yamuna’, Times of India (Delhi Times), 22 February 1999.
  • 220. ‘Reviving the dying Yamuna’ (Note 41 above).
  • 221. CAG report, as quoted in ‘Delhi water unfit for drinking’, Times of India, 10 April 1999; ‘Delhi's sewage system polluting Yamuna: Ministry’, Indian Express, 7 September 2000.
  • 222. ‘Municipal mess’, Editorial, Hindustan Times, 28 January 2000; ‘City sewage dumped untreated’, Times of India, 2 February 2000; ‘Delhi's sewage system polluting Yamuna’ (Note 46 above).
  • 223. ‘Rattled govt to foot bill for polluting units’, Daily Pioneer, 14 September 2000.
  • 224. ‘What will industrial units do with solid waste?’, Times of India, 27 January 2000.
  • 225. ‘800 units face closure for polluting Yamuna’, Times of India, 25 January 2000; ‘Govt tells units to install treatment plants’, Times of India, 8 December 1999.
  • 226. ‘ ‘No norms laid down for Effluent Treatment Plants’, Times of India, 25 January 2000. .
  • 227. ‘Govt reopening of industrial units will add to pollution of Yamuna’, Hindustan Times, 11 January 2000.
  • 228. ‘Relocation issue: Panel set up to study industries’ pleas’, Hindustan Times, 1 January 2000.
  • 229. ‘Closure of industrial units: Delhi govt on the backfoot?’, Times of India, 7 January 2000.
  • 230. ‘Govt allows 372 units to reopen’, Hindustan Times, 10 January 2000.
  • 231. ‘SC bans effluents’ flow into Yamuna’, Hindustan Times, 25 January 2000; ‘800 units face closure’ (Note 50 above).
  • 232. ‘Clean up Yamuna by April 28: SC’, Hindustan Times, 11 March 2000.
  • 233. ‘Yamuna can breathe: Polluting units to be closed’, Hindustan Times, 14 March 2000.
  • 234. ‘SC may fine erring Delhi govt’, Hindustan Times, 29 April 2000; ‘SC talks of fining govt for failure to curb pollution’, Times of India, 29 April 2000.
  • 235. ‘Yamuna pollution: “Excuses! Excuses!” SC slaps Rs 10,000 fine on Delhi govt’, Hindustan Times, 12 May 2000; ‘SC fines Delhi govt over Yamuna’, Times of India, 12 May 2000; ‘Fine slapped on Delhi govt’, The Hindu, 12 May 2000.
  • 236. ‘Stiff penalty if Yamuna is left dirty: SC’, Times of India, 12 July 2000; ‘SC warns Delhi govt on cleaning of the Yamuna’, Indian Express, 12 July 2000; ‘Pollution of Yamuna worries SC’, The Hindu, 12 July 2000; ‘SC: Clean up Yamuna quicker or face music’, Hindustan Times, 12 July 2000; ‘You are cleaning Yamuna at snail's pace, SC to govt’, Indian Express, 12 July 2000.
  • 237. ‘LG, environment dept near showdown over units’ closure’, Indian Express, 9 September 2000.
  • 238. ‘Jagmohan’s is only sane voice, says SC’, Indian Express, 14 September 2000; ‘SC ruling on hazardous units: Ministry to set up nodal agency’, Hindustan Times, 14 September 2000.
  • 239. ‘Pollution is not a simple matter that can be legislated out of existence’, Times of India, 11 March 1997.
  • 240. ‘Govt rethinks on shifting industries’ (Note 37 above).
  • 241. ‘Frequent court orders on polluting industries jolt govt into action’, Times of India, 29 January 2000; ‘Water polluting industrial units allotted plots’, Indian Express, 10 July 2000; ‘500 polluting units get alternate sites’, Times of India, 10 July 2000; ‘500 polluting industrial units to be relocated at Narela’, Hindustan Times, 11 July 2000.
  • 242. ‘Bawana: Site for relocation yet to show signs of any development’, Hindustan Times, 24 September 2000.
  • 243. ‘Shut industries in residential areas: Supreme Court’, Asian Age (Delhi Age), 13 September 2000; ‘SC damns Delhi on polluting units’, Times of India, 13 September 2000; ‘Jagmohan’s is only sane voice’ (Note 63 above).
  • 244. ‘Balli threatens agitation if master plan is not altered’, Hindustan Times, 22 September 2000; ‘Cong flays Jagmohan’s rigidity on Master Plan’, Times of India, 23 September 2000; ‘Amend Master Plan, demands state Cong chief’, Indian Express, 23 September 2000; ‘DPCC wants changes in Master Plan to circumvent SC directive’, Hindustan Times, 23 September 2000.
  • 245. ‘Khurana backs govt stand, for master plan amendment’, Hindustan Times, 24 September 2000; ‘Sheila for a “practical and humane view” of units issue’, Hindustan Times, 24 September 2000.
  • 246. Jag Parvesh Chandra, ‘Where will they go from here?’, Hindustan Times, 6 October 2000; ‘Apply flexible guidelines to Master Plan: L-G’, Hindustan Times, 30 September 2000.
  • 247. ‘Agitating mob hold Delhi to ransom; govt refuses to budge’, Indian Express, 21 November 2000.
  • 248. ‘Closing units an act of bureaucratic terror’, Times of India, 20 November 2000; ‘Revoke industry closure: Khurana tells government’, Indian Express, 20 November 2000; ‘Khurana seeks PM’s intervention to solve problems of units in non-conforming areas’, Hindustan Times, 20 November 2000.
  • 249. ‘Cong accuses BJP of indulging in doublespeak’, Times of India, 18 December 2000.
  • 250. ‘Traffic held to ransom; Delhi bandh today’, Daily Pioneer, 20 November 2000.
  • 251. ‘Agitating mob hold Delhi to ransom’ (Note 72 above).
  • 252. ‘PM house chalo, decides Congress’, Times of India, 21 November 2000.
  • 253. ‘Jagmohan firm on Delhi Master Plan; Tumult in Rajya Sabha’, Hindustan Times, 23 November 2000; ‘Jagmohan bends a little, but won’t break’, Times of India, 23 November 2000; ‘Delhi protesters find support in Parliament’, Times of India, 23 November 2000; ‘Jagmohan yields inch, refuses mile’, Daily Pioneer, 23 November 2000.
  • 254. ‘Jagmohan yields inch’ (Note 78 above).
  • 255. ‘Delhi Assembly passes censure motion against Jagmohan’, Hindustan Times, 23 November 2000; ‘Assembly says no to proposal; fears fresh stir’, Daily Pioneer, 23 November 2000.
  • 256. ‘Interview with Sheila Dikshit, Down To Earth, 31July 2000; ‘Delhi’s belly at the click of a mouse’, Times of India, 12 July 1999.
  • 257. ‘15-lakh workers not hooligans: BJP MPs’, The Hindu, 23 November 2000.
  • 258. ‘Jagmohan bends a little’ (Note 79 above).
  • 259. ‘Jagmohan yields inch’ (Note 79 above).
  • 260. ‘Delhi Assembly passes censure motion’ (Note 80 above); ‘Assembly disapproves Jagmohan stand’, The Hindu, 23 November 2000; ‘Assembly says no to proposal’ (Note 80 above).
  • 261. ‘Cong flays Jagmohan’s rigidity’ (Note 69 above); ‘Sheila for a “practical and humane view”’ (Note 70 above); ‘Khurana backs govt stand for master plan amendment’, Hindustan Times, 24 September 2000; ‘Where will they go from here?’, Hindustan Times, 6 October 2000.
  • 262. ‘Where will they go from here?’ (Note 86 above).
  • 263. ‘Cong flays Jagmohan’s rigidity’ (Note 69 above).
  • 264. ‘Revoke industry closure’ (Note 73 above)
  • 265. ‘Where will they go from here?’ (Note 86 above); ‘1 lakh industries won’t be allowed to shut down’, Hindustan Times, 5 October 2000.
  • 266. ‘DPCC wants changes in Master Plan’ (Note 69 above); ‘.
  • 267. ‘Where will they go from here?’ (Note 87 above); ‘Balli threatens agitation’ (Note 69 above).
  • 268. ‘Revoke industry closure’ (Note 73 above); ‘Khurana seeks PM’s intervention’ (Note 73 above); ‘Khurana backs govt stand’ (Note 86 above).
  • 269. ‘Jagmohan bends a little’ (Note 78 above); ‘Delhi protesters find support in Parliament’ (Note 78 above); ‘Jagmohan firm on Delhi Master Plan’ (Note 78 above).
  • 270. Delhi Development Authority, Master Plan for Delhi, New Delhi, 1962, p. 6, under (a) Major Policy Decisions.
  • 271. Ibid.
  • 272. Ibid., p. 17.
  • 273. Ibid., p. 8.
  • 274. Ibid., p. 22.
  • 275. Ibid., p (ii) under important recommendations made in the Master Plan.
  • 276. Ibid., pp. 17-19.
  • 277. Ibid., p. 21.
  • 278. Ibid., p. 20.
  • 279. Ibid., p. 46.
  • 280. Ibid., ‘Time schedule for non-conforming uses’, p. 46
  • 281. Ibid., p.45.
  • 282. Ibid., p. 19.
  • 283. Mid-term Appraisal of Delhi Master Plan and Its Implementation, First Rreport of the Working Group, 14 March 1974, Summary of Recommendations, Para-4. The Working Group suggested speeding up development of industrial plots by DDA and review of sizes and utilization of industrial plots in cooperative societies as these were far bigger than the ones developed by DDA. It said that since light and service industries (much of the ones proposed to be relocated now under the Jagmohan option) are permitted in extensive industrial zones, layout plans for these zones should make due provision for them. It noted shifting of non-conforming uses had not been successful and strongly recommended a systematic and coordinated approach as well as construction of flatted factories (not one of which had been constructed by then) by the DDA or the DSIDC. It even recommended that a committee to examine in detail the change of landuse of some non-conforming industrial units (now proposed in the Sheila option for all units without the benefit of a detailed examination).
  • 284. Seventh Lok Sabha, Estimates Committee (1984-85), Eighty-fifth Report: Ministry of Works and Housing, Delhi Development Authority–Part-I, Lok Sabha Secretariat, May 1984, Para-7.
  • 285. Seventh Lok Sabha, Estimates Committee (1984-85), Eighty-seventh Report: Ministry of Works and Housing, Delhi Development Authority–Part-II, Lok Sabha Secretariat, August 1984, Para-1.12.
  • 286. Delhi Development Authority, Master Plan for Delhi Perspective-2001 New Delhi, 1990, p. 9.
  • 287. Ibid., pp. 13,56.
  • 288. Ibid., pp. 110-12
  • 289. Ibid., p.112.
  • 290. National Capital Region is the larger inter-state religion around Delhi whose development had benn recommended in the 1962 Master Plan to help keep the population of Delhi within the carrying capacity. See Master Plan for Delhi Perspective 2001 (Note 111 above), p. 10.
  • 291. Master Plan for Delhi Perspective 2001 (Note 111above), pp. 13, 56.
  • 292. Ibid., p. 9
  • 293. Ibid., pp.10-11
  • 294. ‘My report’s scope is limited: DVB chief’, Hindustan Times, 25 November 2000.
  • 295. The three industrial clusters mentioned are Anand Parbat, Shahadra an Shamapur Badli. See Master Plan for Delhi Perspective 2001 (Note 111), p. 12.
  • 296. ‘Minister agrees to declare some more areas industrial’, Hindustan Times, 23 December 2000.
  • 297. Master Plan for Delhi Perspective-2001 (Note 111 above), p.12
  • 298. There are many more such units in Delhi, as is obvious not only from the inconsistent figures that were being thrown around by the press while the court was hearing the matter, but also because, even after the closure of hazardous industries, hazards have continued. In November 1997 a girl was killed in blast in a chemical unit. In October 1998 five persons were injured when paint thinner caught fire in a factory. In November 1999 two children died after they fell into a drum containing chemical waste from a factory. In April 2000 two persons were killed in a blast in a rubber solution unit. In July 2000 five persons, including a four-year old, were injured in a chemical factory fire.
  • 299. Master Plan for Delhi Perspective 2001 (Note 111 above), pp. 12, 55.
  • 300. In 1962 the Master Plan earmarked 196 acres in then central and 168 acres in then outlying areas (to be developed, respectively, with a floor area ratio of 150 and 120) for flatted factories. These would have provided 1,981,901 square metres of industrial space. In 1990 again, similar proposals were made for flatted factories and service centres, albeit with somewhat lower FAR.
  • 301. ‘DDA says no to DCM plan on mill land’, Indian Express, 31 July 1991.
  • 302. ‘Officers bristle at diktat on DCM’, Times of India, 23 September 1994.
  • 303. ‘Who created the mess that is Delhi today?’, Times of India, 25 November 2000.
  • 304. ‘HUDCO’s land allotment for five-star hotel violates Master Plan’, Times of India, 3 October 1997.
  • 305. ‘HUDCO project found violating Delhi Master Plan’, Times of India, 28 February 1998.
  • 306. ‘After units’ closure, DDA, industry owners read SC order differently’, Times of India, 1 February 1999.
  • 307. ‘SC tells toxic units to surrender land’, Daily Pioneer, 4 May 2000.
  • 308. 'Polluting units: SC lands greedy ones in trouble’, Times of India, 5 December 1996
  • 309. Dasgupta, ‘Tall Blunders’ op cit
  • 310. ‘DDA, industry owners read SC order differently’ (Note 120 above).
  • 311. ‘SC tells toxic units to surrender land’ (Note 121 above); ‘Court gives polluting units time till May 28’, Asian Age, 4 May 2000; ‘SC asks hazardous units to give up land’, Hindustan Times, 5 May 2000; ‘Banished units told to cede surplus land’, Times of India, 5 May 2000.
  • 312. ‘Warrants against 9 polluting units’, The Hindu, 4 August 2000.
  • 313. ‘Court issues fresh warrants against 9 units’, Indian Express, 6 August 2000.
  • 314. Master Plan for Delhi Perspective-2001 (Note 111 above), p. 10.
  • 315. Ibid., pp. 55, 56.