1. "In Delhi the approach of planned urban development has been practiced since the decade of the sixties, which is incorporated in the first and the second Master Plans. It is time that the third Master Plan is concretized which should incorporate the lessons learnt from the experience of the last four decades as well as policy departures to secure proper development of Delhi in its emerging context."

Incorporating ‘lessons learnt from the experience’ is fundamental and monitoring and review provisions of Delhi Master Plan set the statutory framework for this. Clarifications have been sought about mandatory monitoring basis of Plan revision (Annex-2). Following professional contributions have been made to monitoring inputs with suggestions for incorporating lessons:

  • 3 reports on behalf of primary-stakeholder groups on micro-studies at community (100,000 population) level on Plan provisions for slums, hawkers and schools, inclusive of suggestions for implementation for problem-solving in widest public interest, sent in 2001 and followed up.
  • Detailed correspondence by / on behalf of primary stakeholders about illustrative cases of historic village and resources meriting heritage intervention under the Plan with suggestion for priority on village land acquired for development as per to Plan, sent in 2001 and followed up.
  • Citywide broad-stroke assessments (since 2000) vis-à-vis Plan targets on industrial space, low-income housing and informal sector to show that the city’s ‘squalor’ problems are backlog on Plan targets, with suggestion to make this a starting premise for just and durable solutions.
  • Correspondence by / on behalf of primary stakeholder groups (since 2001) and report on water (in 2002) about ‘stress’ problems like water and parking being fallout of subversion of planned development, with suggestion of holistic rather than ‘projectised’ approaches.
  • Correspondence by / on behalf of primary stakeholder groups and as independent professional about inadequacy of current ‘blanket’ approaches of clearance, regularization or resettlement with no reference to Plan provisions for land use, norms or priorities (since 2000)
  • Correspondence as independent researcher on implications of ‘dynamic planning’ in disregard of the Plan in bhagidari, policy dialogue, etc (since 2000), supported by effort to create mechanisms for disciplined citizens’ participation around Plan entitlements (MPISG, since 2001) respectful of due process of Public Notice (discussion series, 2003)

Comments/suggestions made in the above are based on ‘lessons learnt from the experience’ in a manner consist with the statutory framework for experiential learning. These lessons are not reflected / ‘incorporated’ in the ‘guidelines’ and it is unclear why they are less worthy than other ‘lessons’ or from what experiential assessment have the latter been ‘learnt’.

2. "In the last four decades Delhi has developed into a massive metropolis which has provided shelter to millions of people who have arrived here as part of the phenomenon or rural-urban change and in search of jobs and opportunities. The national capital region has also developed impressively, though with a spatial distortion in the sense that only the Delhi Metropolitan Area (DMA) towns adjoining Delhi have developed and not the National Capital Region (NCR) towns with a spatial gap from Delhi. Within Delhi large areas have developed in a planned manner but large areas have also grown outside the framework of the Master Plan. The need now is to take into account all that has happened and to try and introduce approaches which will ensure that is further development is in consonance with the requisites of modern living and within acceptable environmental parameters. A very important concern will have to be the orderly incorporation of the poor people who migrate from the hinterland."

The demographic hypothesis of ‘massive’ growth attributable to unanticipated ‘poor migrants’ and slow development of NCR towns is an over-simplification belied by Census 2001.

  • Number of families Census 2001 counted in slums is consistent with backlog on Plan targets for EWS plots. Planning Commission’s report of 2002 accepts that correlation between migration and poverty does not hold in Delhi. This comment has been made (see 9 later)
  • Unanticipated migration is in the non-slum segment, largely due to DDA development ‘outside the framework of the Master Plan’ (justified as ‘modern living’, ‘balanced development’, etc) for uses that could be elsewhere in NCR. This comment has been made (see 5 later).

The basis of continued use of oversimplifications as a starting premise for ‘guidelines’ is unclear.

3. "The ministry is aware that the Delhi Development Authority has been actively engaged in evolving the third Master Plan and that is held numerous exercise to involve various sections of opinion. The NCR Planning Board has also been engaged in a similar exercise for the national capital region. The Ministry wishes to provide the following guidelines to DDA in the hope that they will be of help in finalizing the draft of the plan at an early date."

DDA’s Plan revision ‘exercises’ have remained a mystery, with successive presentations only displaying a ‘vision’ presented at a seminar in 1999 and posted, with ‘recommendations’, on its website, the next post being the similar ‘guidelines’ of 2003. Meanwhile, media has also reported only similar announcements, providing no clue about progress of lawful Plan revision.

  • Clarifications about sectoral analysis of implementation status and silence of working groups through pre-emptive Plan modifying ‘schemes’ have been sought time and again (Annex-2).
  • Request for a system of continuing information about status of Plan revision was also made way back in 2000 in view of other piecemeal ideas being mooted by others (see Encl.3)

Re-announcement of pre-emptive ‘recommendations’ of 1999 as ‘guidelines’ in 2003 does place a question mark on revision related ‘exercises’, especially so in view of the CBI expose in March 2003 of corruption at Master Plan minding levels in DDA.

4. "Urban expansion in the two previous plans has been based on the policy of large scale acquisition and disposal of land by DDA. The positive gains and the negative fallout of this policy are before us. On the negative side, it has, quite contrary to the intention of the policy, resulted in the creation of large number of unauthorized colonies and J.J. clusters. Since, under the policy, the farmers could only get the price of compulsory acquisition, they have tended to resist acquisition and, in many cases, to sell their lands for unauthorized colonization through the intermediation of colonizers and land mafia. When the farmers could not escape acquisition they felt deprived of their share in the value addition that occurs upon conversion of agricultural land to urban land. A major drawback in the approach arose from the substantial time gap between acquisition, development and disposal of land, during which period it remains an invitation to encroachment. Aided by inadequate protection of the acquired land and weak enforcement of building regulations, a large number of unauthorized colonies and J.J. clusters have come up and characterize a substantial part of Delhi today. It is necessary to seek a suitable alternative to the past policy of large scale acquisition and disposal of land by DDA. The Ministry is happy that in a number of seminars held on the subject progress has been made towards evolving an alternative approach which would obviate the taking of land by DDA ahead of the commencement of development and which would also provide the farmers a fair share in the developed urban land. The approach should also give the private sector its due role in urban development and housing. Before it is considered for incorporation in the new Master Plan the alternative approach has to be worked out in its details, particularly giving regard to the interests of the poor migrants. Also, regulatory and enforcement arrangements will have to be strengthened to prevent any further growth of unauthorized colonies and J.J. clusters."

Liberalizing land policy is obvious thrust, for which much is made of ‘negative fallout’ of large-scale acquisition. This is no new insight and in 1990 the Plan incorporated monitoring provisions for a solution. Especially in view of these, after 40 years of acquisition for development as per Plan, no part of the Plan can be abandoned without full accountability. Mere mention of ‘positive gains’ fails to capture the significance of land policy and reform ‘justifications’ are far from robust:

(a) JJ clusters as ‘negative fallout’: Safeguarding interests of the poor is explicit objective of the policy by which land was acquired for development as per Plan, so implementation backlog on pro-poor Plan provisions cannot be ‘negative fallout’ of the policy. Any ‘alternative’ must be assessed in terms of what the policy was meant to do not what DDA failed to do, to restore rather than downsize Plan entitlements. This has been suggested in, say, MPISG invitation to celebrate the Constitution and statement of support for DDA as custodian of the Plan. Comment on the ‘denial scam’ has been made through following legal and judicial processes:

  • NHRC case 1108/30/2000-2001 (praying first of all for inquiry into purpose of demolition of a pre-Plan settlement in green belt, later found to be illegal scam-ridden mega-housing)
  • WP 5007&5009/2002 (seeking instead of sub-standard slum resettlement settlement according to Plan on nearby EWS site (later reported occupied by Sahara restaurant)
  • 1700 responses to Public Notice about HIG flats in green belt (suggesting use for EWS Plan backlog to solve slum problem instead of unplanned HIG flats to add to water crisis)
  • Objection in response to Public Notice of 15.09.02 to threat by unplanned DDA scheme to old school in context of violation of local/free enrollment conditions by other schools)
  • WP 6980/2002 objecting to profiteering on planned commercial space meant for local facilities, including space meant for hawkers and small shops

(b) Unauthorized colonies as ‘negative fallout’: Beyond failing to monitor them DDA has abetted (up-market) unauthorized colonies. Comments have been made in following cases that reflect not ‘negative fallout’ of land policy but presumption of policy change:

  • Upcoming DDA sports complex and hospital amidst upcoming posh unauthorized colony (including an architecture college), violating also CGWA ban on ground water withdrawal.
  • Urban Heritage Foundation’s illegal Sultangarhi Scheme in green belt, inclusive of a wall built around the protected Tomb that zigzags to ‘save’ abutting posh unauthorized colony.

(c) An ‘alternative’ for ‘fair share’ to farmers: Even if the ‘alternative’ is considered in isolation the ‘fair share’ justification does not stand up to scrutiny. After 40 years a policy change for some – unlikely to be farmers as presumption since 1999 has led to investments reflected in burgeoning ‘farmhouses’ – will hardly be fair. Also, all sites are not equally profitable. A far more egalitarian view underlies the existing policy wherein all city land is pooled with neither presumption nor requirement of every owner wanting to be builder and to eliminate unfair advantage incidentally accruing to individual holdings from holistically considered land use decisions. ‘Fair share’ accrues, besides from compensation at standard rate, from Plan provisions for conservation, development and integration of settlements. It is denial of these entitlements that has led to unfair dereliction. Comments/suggestions have been made in:

  • Villagers’ objections in response to Public Notice for an unplanned scheme on grounds of a-priori claim on the(ir) land for their outstanding Plan entitlements for facilities, etc.
  • WP 6980/2002 against unrestricted disposal of commercial space in residential areas on grounds, among others, of no other opportunity for implementation of Plan provisions for livelihood opportunities for villagers in new development in the vicinity, etc.
  • Demand, following breach of 14th century Mahipalpur bundh and in context of Supreme Court intervention about mega project near Taj, for outcome of court-ordered inquiry and of Public Notice process apropos mega-project near Sultangarhi Tomb.

(d) ‘Alternative’ for ‘due role’ of private sector: ‘Due role’ must be defined in terms of the Plan and holistically considered ground realities. Any assessment, from this perspective, of carrying capacity constraints (especially water) will point to need to restrict rather than facilitate a builder boom. Comment on profitability-sustainability conflict has been made in the following:

  • Objection, in response to Public Notice of 15.09.02 and a series of announcements to thrust on HIG housing in excess of norms, for stress on land an infrastructure resources
  • WP 6980/2002 about up-market use of local facility commercial space while local shops come up in unplanned ways taking total commercial use beyond local carrying capacity.
  • Response to Public Notice for relaxing Mixed Use Regulations for greater commercial use of homes, which will spare planned commercial sites for up-market use
  • Response to Public Notice for commercial development along metro corridor with no consideration of implications of increased commercial use at zonal/corridor level.

Plan implementation assessment would find huge backlog on pro-poor provisions, meriting, in view of pro-poor objectives of land policy, priority in further development (not just passing reference to ‘giving regard to the interests of the poor’) to which private sector is unsuited. Since land policy envisaged cross subsidy benefits for the poor, failure to implement non-remunerative Plan provisions amounts already to profiteering on public land. Privatization under the circumstances would amount to double profiteering. Comment has been made in:

  • Objection to commercial use of industrial space following announcement of a scheme in May 2002 in view of abject failure to implement Plan provisions for industrial space, especially in commercial development (eg, in Dwarka).
  • Objection to builder flats in place of slums in lieu of right to profiteer on part site (scheme on lines of Mumbai announced in November 2002, re-announced in July 2003, etc), in view of abject failure to implement Plan provisions for EWS plots.
  • Objection to unrestricted freehold disposal of commercial space meant for hawkers and small shops (Tender Notice of October 2002, leading to WP 6980/2002), in view of abject failure to implement Plan provisions for small trade for local facility.
  • Objection in response to Public Notice to willful Metro property development, in view of thrust on up-market ‘image’ and ‘refusal’ to provide for hawkers, etc (same as for PAPs)
  • Objection to allotment of school and OCF sites in residential areas to up-market private and NGO run establishments and institutes (since 2001) on grounds of abject failure to implement Plan provisions for local education benefit.
  • Objection to proposals mooted by NGOs and endorsed by CM at an IHC meeting on 25.07.02 for takeover of community buildings, etc, for night shelters and other NGO activities on grounds of infringement of citizens’ Plan entitlements by NGO ‘priorities’.

Lawful Plan revision would reach the inescapable conclusion that liberalization of land policy is contrary to sustainability and equity goals and targets of the Plan. But even before Plan revision started, land policy reform was prematurely ‘recommended’ in 1999 and, after being endorsed at ‘a number of seminars’, has become ‘guideline’ in 2003. Investments have clearly already been made in presumption and the ‘guideline’ is already being implemented in contravention of the Plan and due process for its modification. Objections have recently been raised in respect of:

  • Announcement in May of ‘scheme’ for conversion to freehold (going ahead, as per today’s notice inviting offers from banks) without Public Notice even as leasehold is a Plan provision
  • Cooperative Bill to, among other things, regularize power-of-attorney transactions (also for benefit builders operating illegally in guise of cooperatives) without Public Notice

5. "The growth of DMA towns has resulted in deflecting some of the accretion that would have otherwise occurred to Delhi’s population. However, a stronger effort is needed to check the growth of migration to the national capital in the future. The National Capital Region Plan has to be much more dynamic. The recent success in harmonization of tax rates among the NCR states needs to be carried forward into economic and industrial linkage policies. Transportation linkages (including suburban rail links and byepass expressways) have to be built. The synergy between the NCR plan and Delhi’s Master Plan has to be strengthened."

According to the Master Plan (and common sense) accrual of benefits of NCR development to the goal of limiting growth of Delhi is predicated upon two things:

(a) Encouraging uses not strictly needed in Delhi to locate elsewhere in NCR, notably national and international uses that are not quite city-level facilities. The ‘guidelines’ are inconsistent with this imperative, as is DDA’s penchant in recent corruption-ridden years for gifting land to all kinds of ‘institutions’. Comment on this has been made through questioning the following:

  • International Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences pursuant to some ‘bhagidari’ decision
  • National / international institutes / NGOs being given OCF, besides institutional, sites
  • Special HIG flats’ scheme for central government officers even as PSUs, etc, need to shift
  • Special targeting of NRIs in DDA’s recent housing disposal
  • 4 architecture colleges in south-west Delhi / Gurgaon
  • International heritage center and such schemes with no basis in the Plan

(b) Limiting sprawl of Delhi, so that DMA towns do not become one conurbation, to which end Green Belt is important especially in the environmentally precarious J-zone. The NCR Plan also requires this and without it transportation linkages, proposed in the ‘guidelines’ and already being implemented, may well reduce to a zero-sum game insofar as goals of regional dispersal of population through NCR development are concerned. It is in this context that:

  • Clarification has been sought, including in response to Public Notice and in report on Hearing of 27.01.03, about MoUD’s claim that NCRPB recommended the Sultangarhi scheme on grounds of ‘contiguity with built up area’, a patently unplannerly justification that makes sprawl not only inevitable but desirable and regional dispersal efforts futile.
  • Comments have been sent time and again (including through a report on the connection between the water crisis and subversion of planned development) about unplanned development in J-zone

Without regulatory intervention, promotional measures may well contribute to NCR development but will not serve the purpose of limiting Delhi’s growth to within its carrying capacity, which is the purpose for which the idea of NCR was conceived in the 1962 Plan. With no reference to mandatory implementation monitoring data, the ‘guidelines’ take a purely promotional view of NCR, implying abandonment of rural development and massive rural-urban migration. This is not justifiable even on grounds of consistency with the economic reforms agenda, urban spatial dimensions of which have not been fully explored and it is hoped that announcement of these ‘guidelines’ is unrelated to the forthcoming WTO Cancun negotiations.

6. "The areas of irregular development in Delhi must be expeditiously and effectively incorporated in the mainstream of urban development. Regularization of unauthorized colonies should not just be nominal but also effective, which means that, after due planning, infrastructure of roads and streets, parks, drinking water, drainage, sewage disposal, electricity, schools, medical and community facilities etc. must be provided. The operation of regularization has to be so conducted that the residents may be able to secure sanction of building plans and to build / rebuild in accordance with the municipal laws".

That ‘regularization of unauthorized colonies should not be just nominal but also effective’ is already a Plan provision. The discourse is stuck in blind-men-around-the-elephant style debate amongst those proposing and opposing sweeping regularization, with either squalid colonies of the poor or posh land grab by the rich in mind, only because provisions for regularizing industries and mixed use are not being referred to as a model. These preclude sweeping regularization and require assessment of viability with a view to bringing unplanned development as close as possible to the holistic framework for planned development not only at level of plot/colony but in terms of fit into Zonal/city plan. In this perspective questions have been raised about:

  • legal basis for sweeping regularization of industries instead of regularization as per Plan
  • analytical basis for liberalizing mixed use regulations to preclude requirement of studies (in response to Public Notice of 15.12.02)
  • rationale for demolitions of a 50-year old listed unauthorized colony for an illegal scheme in J-zone, while leaving untouched happening unauthorized colonization in the vicinity

7. "A major issue that has been debated is that of segregated land use versus flexible land use. While adhering to the requisites of environment the current thinking is in favour of flexible land use, which reaps the synergies between workplace, residence and transportation as also between complementary vocations. Ideally, land use should be responsive to the dynamics of the market. It may be necessary to consider the approach of flexible land use so that solutions can be found to several of the questions that have been vexed in recent years:-

(a) Mixed residential and commercial land use in many more areas by suitably extending the provisions that have existed in this behalf in the previous Master Plan concerning shops etc. in residential areas.

(b) Commercial/office use of industrial premises keeping in view its environmental benefits and economic desirability.

(c) Concentration of industries to the extent of 70% or more in some non-industrial areas making them virtually industrial in use."

To substitute considered Mixed Use regulations incorporated in the Plan for flexibility with liberal notion of ‘flexible land use’ renders Plan premises infructuous. To do so in the name of market dynamics renders Plan purposes of efficiency, equity and sustainability (given explicit precedence in the Plan and land policy) infructuous. ‘Guidelines’ 7(a) to (c) are, nevertheless, already being implemented and techno-legal objections already raised have not been dealt with:

(a) Objections to proposal to liberalize Mixed Land Use Regulations, filed in response (inclusive of reference to WP 6980/2002 etc, still sub-judice) to Public Notice of 15.12.02, and objection to ‘approval’ on 28.03.03 (a day after CBI raids) of said proposal without hearing of response.

(b) Objection to ‘scheme’, simply declared in the press in May 2002, to allow commercial use of industrial space (later struck down by Supreme Court), objection to ‘decision’ to allow all unit types in special industry areas, simply ‘announced’ at a press conference, etc.

(c) Objection to ‘approval’ to regularisation of industries in residential areas, reiterated in context of 2000 hectares of unaccounted for industrial space in response to Public Notice of 12.05.03 and objection to announcement of plans in presumption of outcome of Public Notice process.

8. "A major theme of the new Master Plan should be redevelopment of (a) old and degraded areas (while taking care that buildings of heritage value are protected and conserved) and (b) areas that have developed unauthorizedly. The existing legal and procedural barriers to redevelopment, whether contained in the slum related legislation or in the municipal laws, need to be reviewed and positive incentives (such as higher FAR in the old city and the “special area”) can be considered."

Redevelopment, rather management, interventions in old areas have been a central concern of the Plan since 1962 and implementation failures arguably owe to projectised approaches, as solutions in such areas need prior interventions outside them. Redevelopment with FAR incentives is a strategic option, worth of which can only be assessed vis-à-vis overall framework. Under the statutory framework of the Plan this is contrary to de-densification pre-requisites for such areas. Within the ambit of this framework comments / suggestions have been made in:

  • Objection in response to Public Notice of 12.05.03 (and subsequent MCD announcement about Idgah Abattoir modernization in disregard of it) to ‘regularization’ of incompatible uses that the Plan requires shifting to release space for community facilities
  • Objection, including through response to Public Notice of 15.09.02, to use of land needed for de-densification pre-required for Plan intervention in historic Mahipalpur village for unplanned mega project near Sultangarhi Tomb, also meriting zonal assessment under the Plan
  • Letter about limits to flexibility for Plan modification in case of Safdarjang Airport site in view of illegal and unconsidered rumored proposals and ‘civil society’ counter-proposals put forth at an IHC meeting on 21.07.03.

9. "The existing slums/JJ clusters ought to be ameliorated by a judicious mix of relocation and in-situ development."

‘Judicious mix of relocation and in situ development’ for slums cannot be a ‘guideline’ as legality of this view, which de-links the slum problem from its statutory solution of Plan provisions for EWS housing and fails to provide accountability on a gross implementation failure – unacceptable in view of land policy objectives – despite mandatory monitoring provisions, remains challenged:

  • in WP 5007&9/2002 since August 2002
  • in hundreds of responses to Public Notice of 15.09.02
  • in responses to Public Notices of February / March for land acquisition for resettlement
  • in prolific correspondence from old bastis, service providers’ settlements and resettlement areas to object to unplanned inferior ‘alternatives’, endless discourse in lieu of implementation of entitlements, attempt to make unequal law, etc.

10. "The question of additions to or reconstruction of flats built by DDA, particularly those which have become aged, has repeatedly arisen. Permission is being given for some specific additions / alterations which do not impinge on structural safety. In the new master Plan the matter needs to be addressed in a wide perspective. For instance, the DDA colonies, through proper use of the Apartments Act (which can be suitably modified to remove is deficiencies) may be converted into self managing residential communities, which may even be given rights for reconstructing the outdated and derelict structures by making use of the incentive of higher FAR now permitted, consequent to the recommendations of the Malhotra Committee."

Reconstruction of DDA flats with modification to Apartments Act is not part of ‘recommendations’ of 1999 and it is unclear why this modality and not, say, just a repair/reconstruction program is being proposed. Along with schemes for conversion to freehold and regularization of illegal additions, there is likelihood of ‘up-marketing’, inconsistent with land policy benefit of land at reasonable rather than market rates enjoyed by DDA stock. This comment has been made in:

  • Objection to scheme for regularizing practically all illegal additions without Public Notice
  • Objection to scheme for conversion from leasehold to freehold without Public Notice
  • Objection to Cooperative Bill without prior Public Notice about Plan modification and (similar) possibility of builder ‘takeover’ of the sub-system with little post-sale accountability

Also, the scheme requiring investments in regularization of illegal flat additions can conflict with the ‘guideline’ for reconstruction later and the one about redevelopment along metro corridor unless areas to be opened for reconstruction or metro synergy opportunity are identified first.

11. "An opportunity for redevelopment in Delhi is offered on the two sides of the metro rail routes, about 70 kilometers of which will become available in the first phase to be completed in 2005. That will be the best use of the synergy between transportation and urban development. A practical approach of providing the requisite infrastructure on the sides of the tracks, say to a depth of about half a kilometer, and of permitting a suitably enhanced FAR in construction could be devised and included in the Master Plan."

Redevelopment along metro, certainly an opportunity, cannot be a general ‘guideline’ as all redevelopment must be assessed for fit in zonal / city perspective as piecemeal profitability could be offset by costs in a somewhat broader perspective. Comment has been made about this in:

  • Objection in response to Public Notice to property development along corridor needing decongestion, in riverbed/green, etc, without compensatory land use change at zonal level
  • Objection to inauguration, etc, of Metro Depot on riverbed/green in pendency of Public Notice
  • Objection to acquisition using urgency clause for station, “etc”, in pendency of Public Notice
  • Requests for implementing Plan provisions for hawkers at stations and priority to rehabilitation of PAPs in metro property development and, in general, to not make metro unduly up-market

12. "The issue of vertical construction (including that below the ground) needs to be seen in the light of technical devices which are now available. Moreover, vertical construction need not mean higher density, in fact, it may reduce the proportion of ground coverage and enhance greens and common spaces."

Vertical construction has not been the recommended option, not for want of technology, but because land use optimality and preference studies led to Plan provisions for primarily plotted housing. Planning data justifying change in law in favour of vertical construction needs to be made public. Very small units, in any case, cannot be accommodated in this option as that will amount to downsizing statutory entitlements. This point has been raised through techno-legal objections/suggestions apropos flatted EWS housing on lines of Mumbai in:

  • detailed note to request DDA to ‘pilot’ Plan provisions for EWS plots instead of Mumbai Model and other illegal options being considered in the court-appointed committee (most key members of which have subsequently faced corruption charges)
  • comparative appraisal simulation, following ‘announcement’ of UDM in November 2001, to demonstrate how Mumbai Model instead of Plan implementation would infirnge entitlements of all and amount to double profiteering on public land (incidentally, media and CAG both have exposed scamming by builders in Mumbai Model in Mumbai)
  • objection to reference in letter from DDA in February 2003 to consideration by it of Mumbai Model without ascertaining if there has been planning and not just implementation failure
  • objections from slum residents, hawkers and flat residents to ‘pilot project’ for Mumbai Model in Vasant Kunj in view of pendency of legal/judicial processes about slums and the site.

13. "In providing housing, both the cooperative sector and DDA have made sizeable contributions. The approach now needs to be reoriented by providing an active role also to the private sector and also by incorporating the involvement of numerous institutions engaged in the business of finance for housing. Affordable housing has to be brought within the reach of economically weaker sections and of new migrants to the capital. It must also be realized that, with the emergence of alternatives in DMA towns, housing is no more an entirely seller’s market. To be able to successfully market its housing units DDA has to effect improvements in quality and reduction in selling prices."

Affordable housing for all is a key objective of the Plan and land policy since 1962 and affordable EWS housing, in particular, merits priority as backlog (not merely restatement of intent). The thrust in the ‘guidelines’ is on private supply and while ‘sizeable contribution’ of DDA and cooperative housing is noted, it is not mentioned that this has been possible because of access to land at reasonable rates under land policy that is now sought to be changed while simultaneously ‘opening up’ existing stock to privatization. In land allocation terms housing is the most significant part of the Plan and cannot afford the indiscipline of over-simplification in disregard of due process for its revision. Comments about this have been repeatedly made (see most of previous).

14. "A major issue confronting the planned development of Delhi is the apparent and frequent violation of the planning and development control norms. There is a growing variation between the plan for Delhi and the city of the ground. It is, therefore, essential the Master Plan policies should be implementable in an effective manner and vigorously enforced. The existing legal framework for enforcement of Master Plan provisions including unauthorized construction and encroachment on public land also need examination so as to initiate proposals for its strengthening, where necessary."

Implementability is obviously of essence and talk of ‘encroachment on public land’ with no reference to implementation backlog on Plan targets for which public land exists simplistic. Both slums and hawkers, ‘encroachments on public land’ (as distinct from willful construction on developed public spaces) are only implementation backlog and, since the Act contemplates not land ownership but development according to Plan by DDA, its notion of ‘encroachment’ is a classic case of culprit punishing victim. This has been commented upon apropos slums:

  • In correspondence about contention of DDA and GoNCTD to NHRC 50-year old settlement in Rangpuri Pahari / Sultangarhi was ‘encroachment’ not requiring notice before demolition
  • In correspondence about DDA’s contention in WP 4978/2002 that its illegal Sultangarhi scheme was lustifiable on grounds of protecting land from neighbouring ‘encroachment’
  • In response to Public Notice of 15.09.02 to point out that the ‘slum’ is backlog with Plan entitlements under provisions for housing, non-conforming use and integration and DDA’s scheme ‘encroachment’ for having no basis in the Plan (purpose of public land acquisition).
  • In correspondence about Yamuna ‘encroachment’ removal orders to point out that as per Master Plan, Pushta is implementation backlog and Metro Depot, etc, ‘encroachment’.
  • In a joint statement by citizens’ groups in old bastis, service providers’ settlements, resettlement colonies, included in their memoranda in response to Public Notice of SPC.

More sustained comment has been made in the matter of hawkers:

  • In prolific engagement in 2001-02 by hawkers and flat residents on Plan provisions for hawkers, especially after DDA demolished their interim arrangement as ‘encroachment’.
  • In correspondence about neglect of hawker provisions at Metro stations, ‘encroachment’ removal in DUAC supported proposals, MoUD funded ‘research’ to invent existing provisions
  • In correspondence about illegal / inferior initiatives stemming from a ‘hawker policy dialogue’ on stubborn premise that Plan provisions do not exist, including about MCD tehbazari ‘encroachment’ and MCD court matter in support of NGO-led ‘encroachments’
  • In response to Public Notice of 15.09.02 to ask for enthusiasm about DDA assurance of 19.10.01 to PMO about hawker provisions after it justified its HIG ‘encroachment’ as this
  • In WP 6980/2002, in which DDA reiterated on affidavit in 2003 assurance of implementing hawker provisions as per hawkers’ report of May 2001, and as harassment and misuse of hawker space continues and ‘pilot project’ is nowhere and partly threatened by one for slums

Hawker provisions, requiring minimal resource requirement for huge benefit, have not been implemented and ‘encroachment’ removal continues. Dwarka has been declared ‘zero tolerance’ for hawkers (backlog), while it is institutional allotments, commercial development and disposal of designed mixed-use plots, exclusively commercial use of commercial space even as industrial component was dropped on grounds of Plan provisions for industries in it, builders operating in the guise of cooperatives, etc, that is ‘encroachment’ on public land that should not be tolerated.

15. "Much investment has been made in recent years in transportation (in particular, the metro rail, roads and flyovers), telecommunications, power, water supply and sewage disposal. However, shortages still persist for the removal of which efforts will have to be redoubled. It is expected that the Master Plan will include as annexures perspective plans for the development of infrastructure which should be prepared with the involvement of the relevant agencies and experts. A review and harmonization mechanism should be included in the Master Plan. Needless to say, in the endeavlour of infrastructure development there has to be complete coordination between the Government of NCT of Delhi and its relevant organizations, the municipal bodies. DDA and the various public and private sector entities engaged in building and running the infrastructure."

Infrastructure ‘guidelines’, while making much of supply side investments, fail to make connection with the Plan, especially the role played by norms for balanced development in demand-limitation. The ‘guidelines’ endorse the trend of piecemeal investments being made in disregard of the Plan and carrying capacity constraints at various levels. This has been commented on, for instance:

  • In report on schools with reference to infrastructure stress implications of ‘up-marketing’ sites
  • In report on hawkers and in WP 6980/2002 with reference to implications of ‘up-marketing’
  • In report on water crisis, WP 4978/2002 and in response to Public Notice of 15.09.02 with reference to implications of HIG housing in excess of norms on, especially, water crisis
  • In response to Public Notice of 15.12.02 about liberalizing mixed use regulations
  • In response to Public Notice of 16.12.02 about up-market development along metro corridor

It is especially noteworthy that commitment to ‘involvement of the relevant agencies’ is belied by DDA/MoUD’s stand in WP 4978/2002 that it was unnecessary to seek concurrence of CGWA for an unplanned scheme in a notified area and failure of DDA to provide clarification, despite 1700 objections, about official views of DJB and CGWA before going ahead with ‘aprroval’ to the same.

16. "Thanks to the efforts of various official organizations and the cooperation of the people, the green cover in Delhi has increased in recent years. That direction of progress has to be maintained. The character of the forests developed in the city needs to be enhanced. The initiative of DDA to develop bio-diversity parks one for the biotic communities of the riverbed and the other of Aravali, is admirable and should be implemented with vigour. It is expected that the Master Plan will have a separate section on protection and conservation of heritage with which Delhi is so richly endowed."

Protection of city greens, especially ridge and riverbed, has been a central concern of the Plan since 1962 and requires ‘maintenance’ not only of flora but also of space allocations. Although the ‘guidelines’ fail to do so, underscoring the latter is imperative in view of loss of city greens to not only unauthorized occupation but also to DDA’s own schemes, etc. This has been commented on:

  • In WP 4978/2002 and response to Public Notice about Sultangarhi scheme in green belt (incidentally, DDA denied that existing land use was green belt and failed to clarify how)
  • In response to Public Notice of 16.09.02 for change of land use of a large amount of riverbed / green land for metro property development, already come up
  • In correspondence about other schemes, etc, in J-zone / green belt
  • In letter about Safdarjang flying club (on District Park) after odd IHC meeting on 2107.03

17. "While framing the new Master Plan, DDA will of course keep in view judicial orders that may have a bearing on the matter."

The ‘guidelines’ say ‘DDA will of course keep in view judicial orders that may have a bearing on the matter’. But the ‘guidelines’, besides routine DDA and MoUD ‘defence’ of their positions rather than Master Plan provisions, disregard the sanctity of judicial processes currently underway on most key aspects of the Plan. Well known PIL in which neither petitioners not DDA/MoUD have placed in court full facts of Plan entitlements in public interest are:

  • UoI SLP (fully ‘owned’ by GoNCTD and MCD) against High Court judgment of November 2002 that quashed slum resettlement policy in PIL (repeated requests to place in court Plan targets of EWS plots and status of 2000 hectares meant for them have been in vain).
  • Prolonged PIL on ‘non-conforming’ industries (repeated requests to place in the court facts of over 2000 hectares of unaccounted for planned industrial space have been in vain)
  • Prolonged PIL on unauthorized colonies in which no reference is made to Plan approaches to sensible rather than sweeping regularization that potentially provides just and durable solution
  • Prolonged PIL on commercialization of education in disregard of lease conditions (in which repeated requests to place a more holistic rather than responsibility shirking perspective of lease conditions as an instrument of furthering Plan purpose have been in vain)
  • Sporadic litigation on hawkers in disregard of statutory Plan provisions that have, effectively, over-ridden inadequate tehbazari provisions, to seek endorsement for some ‘projects’ and even ‘policies’ based on them (requests for clearing up the obfuscation have been in vain)

In all these and similar matters judicial orders are obtained practically by misleading the courts with half-truths to create fait-accompli situations to push reform. A striking example is the ‘suggestion’ by court for consideration of Mumbai Model, obviously because DDA/MoUD failed to point out its illegality in view of Delhi’s land policy. On the other hand, judicial orders in matters squarely premised on Plan entitlements have not been implemented, notably the following:

  • In WP 5007&9/2002 immediate compliance on clarification of entitlements, etc (in matter of slums in Vasant Kunj), directed on 21.08.02, has yet to be provided.
  • After judgement of 16.09.02 in WP 4978/2002 directing stoppage and inquiry of DDA’s illegal scheme by big builders in J-zone / green belt, work continued and was not inquired into.
  • In WP 6980/2002 on affidavit DDA reiterated in February 2003 assurance of implementation hawker provisions and inquiry into misuse of hawker space, but has not done this

Selective ‘use’ of judicial orders, secured almost by unfair means, in support of ‘guidelines’ is undoubtedly imminent. Equally noteworthy is the absence in the ‘guidelines’ to any reference to due process for Plan modification, starting with accountability on implementation and concluding with Public Notice as safeguard against even inadvertent infringement of entitlements. This is, of course, not surprising in view of this process having been repeatedly subverted, including through brazen contempt of all Public Notice responses in recent times, in pursuit of ‘recommendations’ of 1999, become ‘guidelines’ in 2003. Judicial processes, like civil society consensus claimed on basis of exclusive seminars, while they may well be ‘manipulated’ to endorse the ‘guidelines’, cannot constitutionally substitute due process of Plan revision.