Delhi Master Plan is a document of citizens’ entitlements in benefits of planned development to ensure well-being of the city’s past, present and future. To uphold, safeguard and secure citizens’ entitlements is the constitutional responsibility of the state and civic responsibility of others engaging in development. To disregard, undermine or disparage a document of citizens’ entitlements is unconstitutional and irresponsible. In the last 10-15 years, unfortunately, these fundamental facts have been lost sight of and vested interests rather than Master Plan have guided land use in the city. This has spawned an iceberg whose tip was exposed by CBI earlier this year. It has also spawned a Master Plan revision that, by all accounts, places citizens’ entitlements and the city’s well being at risk to ‘legitimise’ an extraordinary land scam on maybe a tenth of Delhi.

It was in this context that I had suggested a series of discussions to demystify Plan entitlements and Public Notice process for greater citizens’ awareness in time for the Public Notice for Delhi Master Plan 2021, then expected in June 2003. The intention was also to try and create confidence in the Plan and a comfort zone for groups of citizens (owners of the Plan) and young professionals (its future professional custodians) to come together to forge alliances for effective participation not only during the 90-days' Public Notice but also for Plan minding till 2021. The Public Notice seems to have been delayed, which made the series ‘pre-mature’. But since the delay was very likely on account of the CBI expose having implicated DDA Commissioner Planning among others, it also made the series uniquely serious. The proceedings of the series are being compiled by Young Professionals' Resource Initiative, which has crystallized in the course of the series and is a significant achievement. The following is just a personal account.

Three of the ten discussions in the series were devoted mainly to the Public Notice process.

  • The two start-up sessions dwelt on demystifying DMP-2021 to explain why several Plan entitlements seem at risk of downsizing and why citizens’ must effectively mind entitlements at the Public Notice stage.
  • In May Public Notice was issued for land use change in Idgah1 to industrial with leave to set up a slaughter house. The discussion on 02.06.03 was devoted to this and about 70 responses filed, another achievement of the series.

Seven discussions were on specific issues – concerns that citizens’ groups brought to the series from time to time. In each of these, entitlements and risks thereto, prior leverages and possibilities for further engagement were discussed.

Two discussions were on issues that bother non-poor citizens.

  • Non-residential use in residential areas, which is limited by the Plan premise of residential areas free from other uses save for local facility and by Mixed Land Use (MLU) regulations and hierarchy norms governing facilities. These provisions are at risk from prolonged neglect, a proposal for relaxing MLU regulations, obfuscation of levels of Plans to skirt hierarchy norms and regularisation becoming election issue. Leverages are objection in response to MLU Public Notice2 and objection to approval without disposal3, Green Park Extn SLP against misuse of residential premises for commerce and MPISG PIL against up-market misuse of local commercial facilities, MPISG objections to land use change for institutional use and MPISG engagement on misuse of school sites in violation of hierarchy norms, etc. Possibilities for engagement discussed related to specific suggestions for court matters and general effort to oppose up-market commercialization of city space. This was a fruitful session, with involvement of RWAs, market associations and professionals.
  • Parking. which is affected by the Plan's parking standards (that did not / could not have anticipated extent/nature of vehicle ownership) and development norms that indirectly limit demand for parking space. The latter are at risk from regularization moves, liberalization of property transfer / up-marketing by conversion to freehold4 and penchant and PIL for solutions without regard to cause of problem5. Leverages are MPISG engagements on traffic/parking implications of violation of hierarchy norms for facilities (including in PIL). Possibities lie in taking up parking norms/options alongside demand limitation issues, especially pointing out conflict between demands for parking solutions and for all manners of regularisation of the causes of parking problems. No specific suggestions for engagement were forthcoming at this session.

Two discussions directly concerned the non-rich.

  • Hawking, for which adequate statutory solution exists in Plan provisions, seriously at risk from the NGO-driven drifting policy discourse6 stoutly denying their existence. Some leverage is provided by efforts since 2001 of Vasant Kunj Rehri Patri Vyapari Ekta Manch and MPISG PIL in which provisions and their non-implementation have been admitted and a pilot project promised on affidavit. Further risk to Plan provisions is suggested by continuing non-implementation and the view, expressed also at the meeting by a professor of Planning engaged also on a state-funded hawking study in support of NGO-driven policy initiatives, that it is improper to be critical of reputed NGOs and to harp on Plan implementation and more appropriate to help DDA with constructive ideas. Fortunately, this view did not find any support amongst those present. Hawker groups and young planners struck alliances to pursue implementation of Plan provisions. Others (non-hawkers) also supported the Plan solution and a sympathetic view of hawkers as victims of non-implementation. Mahanagar Asangathit Mazdur Union, having recently modified its charter to offer assistance to Vasant Kunj's hawkers, offered its platform. This was another promising session.
  • Slums, for which adequate statutory solution exists in Plan provisions for low-income housing, at grave risk from vested interests in profiteering on public land, starkly evident in general in illegal inequitable and unsustainable housing development - both for poor and non-poor - going on and in particular by experiences of engagement via executive, judicial and political options in three MPISG cases - Rangpuri Pahari7, Arjun Camp8 and Rajiv Gandhi Camp9, respectively. Citizens’ groups and the few NGOs present shared the concern about entitlements being disregarded in state and civil society discourse due to corruption and vested interests. On specific cases professional support was volunteered / promised. In general greater awareness to facilitate engagement in an entitlements’ perspective by genuine interest groups was suggested and support for this was volunteered, especially, by Jhuggi Jhompri Ekta Manch, which also modified in this light the memorandum it presented to PMO the following week.This was a very promising session and in the concluding session on 23.06.03 Mahanagar Asangathit Mazdur Union volunteered to organise a follow-up meeting in Narela.

Three discussions were on matters that directly concern all and the city's past, present and future.

  • Heritage, protection and management of which is a fundamental Plan premise that has guided the overall land use plan and is detailed out in provisions governing statutory priorities, requiring delineation of management areas by due process in Zonal Plans, etc. These are at risk from projectised interventions un-connected to Plan priorities and from talk of dispensing with Zonal Plans via an Act amendment. Minor leverages are Mahipalpur village’s engagement apropos priorities and MPISG engagement on Sultangarhi Tomb apropos Zonal Plan responsibilities. Possibilities for using statutory basis of the Plan for holistic heritage interventions that resolve rather than exacerbate conflicts were suggested. However, most of those present found the thrust on staying with the ‘law’ regressive and had other ideas, mainly for encroachment removal through political intervention or PIL in particular cases, for community involvement by training them as guides or for open-air theatre near monuments, etc, and for legislation. These could not be connected to the Plan or to the Public Notice focus. A few professionals had ideas for pursuing Plan related suggestions.
  • Water in particular and carrying-capacity in general being a core concern of the Plan, leading to provisions for regional dispersal / green belt to contain overall population size, limits on urbanization in water constrained directions, protection of ridge-river system and area level norms for demand limitation. These are all at grave risk from mindless unplanned development and commercialization of city space as well as from red herring diversionary discourse on alternatives like rainwater harvesting, Sonia Vihar, dual water supply systems, bottled water, etc, all of which can only supplement and not supplant carrying-capacity based Plan development. The Sultangarhi case10, with a full range of engagement to connect the city’s water crisis to subversion of all safeguard provisions in the Plan, was presented. On suggestion of some present, a visit to Sultangarhi took place on 15.06.02.
  • Metro, which instead of being a transport utility is poised to become the key determinant of city form11 without adequate consideration of implications. The Plan provides for a mass transportation system, but not for the immense amount of property development and real estate playing that is becoming part and parcel of the metro, nor for the grandiose manner of its development in disregard of law through, say, exclusion of hawkers at stations or construction of an icon-class metro depot on the riverbed. With reference to two cases of apprehensions / problems on account of metro development, the general ‘discomfort’ about land use decisions being driven by metro without transparency or due process12 was discussed. Suggestions were made for the specific cases in context of need for assessments to be de-linked from the hype.

Through these seven discussions and the Idgah Public Notice all four core areas of space allocations (housing, industry, commerce, facilities) and the two facets of time continuum (heritage and carrying-capacity) that are fundamental to long term land use planning were touched upon.

By way of tangible achievements, the series has led to about 70 responses to Idgah Public Notice, a visit to the illegal scheme in green belt / ridge-river triangle near Sultangarhi Tomb, and alliances between citizens' groups and young professionals, including with some further work, in cases of Green Park Extn, Maharani Bagh hawkers and Zakir Nagar. Other alliances may also materialize, with citizens' groups having sought and young professionals having expressed intent to provide Plan inputs in cases of Nehru Place hawkers, Giri Nagar, Yusuf Sarai, Tis Hazari and Garia Lohars and professionals having offered and citizens' groups having agreed to consider the same for cases in Gulmohar Park, Jangpura and Asian Games Village. Interest in placing the perspective of the Master Plan in the discourse has been expressed by heritage professionals and by those engaging on water issues. Synergy possibilities on commercial use have arisen from inter-connected interests of RWAs, market associations and hawkers. Groups from slums have committed themselves to pursuing Plan entitlements. The Young Professionals' Resource Initiative has started. Some degree of confidence in / ownership of the Plan in over 250 people who came for at least one discussion seems to have been created, which could grow into the will to mind it in self-interest. Follow-up, of course, is of the essence and will determine whether these small achievements will grow or wither away.

Revision of Delhi’s Master Plan to provide the statutory framework for its development up to 2021 is coming to a close. The draft revised Plan will be placed before public later this year. Efforts of DDA, initiatives of people’s representatives, interventions by courts and views expressed by civil organisations and eminent persons at seminars have gone into shaping the document that will shape the future of the city. For 90-days citizens will be able to comment on it through the Public Notice process. The start-up session for a series of discussions amongst citizens (owners of Delhi Master Plan) and young professionals (its future professional custodians) inclined to gear up to effectively participate over 90-days took place on 19 April. This session was intended to demystify the Plan, its revision and the Public notice, to share lessons from experiences with three recent public notices and to forge alliances between citizens and young professionals interested to gear-up on specific Plan issues to effectively respond to the forthcoming public notice, including through taking charge of subsequent series sessions in this series. Nalini Thakur chaired the presentations and D Raghunandan moderated the discussion seeking commitments for the rest of the series.

Demystifying the Master Plan, its revision and the Public Notice process by Gita Dewan Verma, Planner - Master Plan Implementation Support Group

Delhi Master Plan, statutory framework for the city’s planned development, is primarily a landuse drawing, somewhat like a budget guaranteeing space for all. It is most accurately described as a document of citizens’ entitlements in benefits of planned development by way of equitable space allocations and protection of past and future. Plan revision amounts to modification of entitlements and must follow due process of law, provide accountability on implementation, protect existing entitlements and assure progress on solving problems of the city.

Problems of the city manifest mainly in squalor (slums, roadside trade, non-conforming industries, etc) and shortages (most of all, water). These are not attributable to ‘unanticipated migration in slums’ (Census 2001 slum population is consistent with backlog on Plan targets for plots for the poor). They are not attributable to ‘lack of resources’ (municipal budgets lapse year after year and DDA has abundant land at its disposal). They are not attributable to ‘multiplicity of agencies’ (the Plan is a sufficiently strong framework for orchestrated interventions). They are not attributable to planning failures (the Plan has mandatory provisions to ensure timely correction of these).

Problems of the city owe almost entirely to Plan implementation failures. 0.4 million families in slums, 0.3 million hawkers on roadsides, 0.1 million non-conforming industries, etc, are nothing but implementation backlog against Plan targets for cheap plots, planned hawking space, industrial space, etc. About 5000 hectares of such space is unaccounted for in court cases and policy discourse, inexplicably premised on the assumption that explicitly stated Plan entitlements do not exist. This ‘denial scam’ accounts for much of the squalor problem in the city, the rest of which owes largely to deliberate misuse of public land to resettle or regularise in sub-standard ways in violation of the Plan those denied. And most of the problem of shortages owes to unintended up-market development on land stolen from those denied and, of late, from the future through profit-now-pay-later development on ridge and riverbed.

These failures are more accurately described as subversion of the Plan for profiteering on public land, to the extent of perhaps a fifth of the city. That CBI has lately found corruption at Master Plan minding levels in DDA is not surprising. What is dismaying is that so many others dominating, through their participation or criticism, the Plan revision discourse failed to point this out earlier. In effect those who have subverted the Plan and those unable or unwilling to spot or stop them have now revised it. Far from providing accountability, the revised Plan is headed toward downsizing entitlements, starting with the premise of 23 million people by 2021 even as the Plan itself pegs Delhi’s carrying capacity at about 11 million. This alone will place Delhi on course to becoming a waterless slum.

It is now up to citizens themselves to safeguard their entitlements and the future of their city. An opportunity – indeed responsibility – to do so exists in the form of mandatory 90-days Public Notice process under which the draft revised Plan will be placed before them for objections and suggestions. Public Notice is the only legal process for public participation in the Plan, potentially far more democratic than exclusionary seminars, bhagidari, etc, which have undermined it in recent years.

Master Plan Implementation Support Group, a synergy platform of citizens’ groups engaging, with professional expertise, on Plan entitlements (not intellectual discourse), has recently demonstrated that Public Notice process can be as effective as citizens choose to make it. MPISG, through efforts of its constituents to safeguard a range of entitlements at risk in this Plan revision, has also been pointing since 2001 to complicity at Master Plan minding levels, not just in DDA. MPISG has proposed this series of discussions for concerned citizens and young professionals to gear up to effectively participate through the Public Notice for the revised Plan. Within the ambit of the entitlements’ perspective of the Plan (taken only by MPISG thus far) and importance of citizen-professional collaborations (missing in the currently popular RWA / NGO models of participation), MPISG offers its cooperation to any citizens-professional team concerned about any aspect of the Plan on which MPISG has engaged.

Experiences with recent Public NoticesMetro Property Development by Poonam Prakash, Planner

The Master Plan envisages multi-modal public transportation and recommends strengthening Ring Rail and Buses and Light Rail transit/MRTS on select corridors. Delhi metro is in conformity with the Plan to the extent of objectives of relieving congestion on roads, etc. However, details of the metro project seem to lack clarity on verifiable objectives, priorities about corridors, etc. Metro property development seems especially fuzzy, hardly justifiable on grounds of essential revenue generation (in view of generous international assistance, tax waivers, cheap electricity, and ideas of a Metro Tax, etc, besides expenses on frills and PR). Concurrent Master Plan revision provided an opportunity for holistic assessment of feasibility of property development along the metro corridor within the context of broader land use and building intensity decisions. Instead, high-intensity property development all along the corridor, itself determined on less than adequate basis, seems to have become a key determinant shaping the revised Plan.

In December 2002 DDA posted on its web-site a Public Notice inviting objections and suggestions for a proposal for change of land use of more than 90 hectares for property development along just 8.3 km of phase-1 corridor. Of this about 52 hectares are in/along the riverbed. According to the Notice this is for the Metro Depot. According to the scheme displayed in DDA offices in Vikas Minar, however, this includes commercial development on 8 hectares (equivalent to the Nehru Place District Centre), residential development on 15 hectares and a curious ‘Temporary use – amusement park’. Of the rest, 26 hectares are to be converted from parks and recreational areas to commercial use.

Such massive commercialisation, which will attract traffic, is contrary to decongestion objectives. Other implications of commercial development on surrounding areas are also not considered. Nor is there an attempt at compensatory land use change to replace parks and recreational areas taken. On the riverbed, duly notified by Central Ground Water Authority for drinking water potential, environmental and ground water issues remain unresolved. The Notice itself says that views of Central Ground Water Commission have yet to be taken. And the Notice was belated, with construction already started on all sites.

That construction had started, without clearance of CGWA where applicable, and that still the scheme displayed was only schematic and not detailed, complete with vague references like ‘Temporary use – amusement park’ suggests an intent to conceal. What confirms this is that the Public Notice about converting nearly 90 hectares of the city’s land, mostly riverbed and green, to commercial use for the metro was not publicized at all, even as the city is fully informed about the innumerable metro frills.

Only three objections were filed, by individuals present here and only because one of them chanced upon the Public Notice and circulated it along with her objection. There has been no official response from DDA. Enquiries have revealed that DDA Master Plan Unit has referred the objections to the Transport Unit, even as they relate to land use planning issues. Through the objection period and beyond, construction on the sites has continued. At the Metro Depot, illegal for being on a site whose Master Plan land use is presumably still riverbed / green, a police station was also inaugurated by the Lieutenant Governor. Acquisition for property development elsewhere also continues.

The Metro Property development Public Notice process has been subverted. This has implications for democracy and systems as it has contributed to elevating some above the law, which has consequent planning implications as well. For instance, metro stations do not have mandatory provision for hawkers, nor are questions raised about the siting of a depot, where all trains are to be washed, along our river whose pollution has become a matter of grave concern.

That the Public Notice was subverted owes largely to the fact that just three objections were simply lost amidst the massive promotional PR about the Metro. How long will we believe and wait that things will get all right? They won’t unless we want them to.

Experiences with recent Public Notices Mixed Landuse, Aruna Bhowmick - Citizen activist, Green Park

Residents of Green Park had moved High Court (D Bhowmick and others v/s DDA and others) against unchecked commercial use of homes, which has created huge problems of infrastructure stress and noise and safety for residents. After eight years, in 2002 the Court disposed off the matter saying that authorities do not have powers to seal the premises being misused. An SLP was then filed in the Supreme Court and the High Court order has been stayed and the matter is pending for further hearing. The case was based on the violation of Master Plan landuse provisions, though it did not refer specifically to the Mixed Use Regulations, nor did government, as respondents, care to place them before the court. These provisions represent citizens’ entitlements to benefits of limited regulated commercial use in residential areas in a way that residential amenity is protected at area level while individual users and consumers can benefit from convenience and other advantages of mixed use.

The issue of disposal of local commercial facility space in residential areas for profitable but unintended up-market commerce, leaving local shops to come up in homes and fuelling further commercialisation there, was also taken to court (MPISG and others v/s DDA and Ministry of Urban Development) in October 2002.

Despite both these matters being sub-judice and the Master Plan being sub-review, on 15 December 2002 DDA brought out a Public Notice inviting objections and suggestions to its proposal for incorporating ‘after the para of ‘Nursing Home, Guest House and Bank’’ in the Mixed Use Regulations in the Master Plan “Creche, Chemist Shops, Art Galleries, STD/ISD Booths, Florists and Day Care Centres shall be allowed in the residential plots subject to similar conditions applicable for Nursing Home, Guest House and Bank”.

This Public Notice was grossly defective. The uses ‘proposed’ to be incorporated are already permissible by virtue of not being prohibited by the Mixed Use Regulations. While conveying the impression that the range of permissible uses is to be expanded, the Notice is actually about a modification that changes the ‘conditions’ under which they may be permitted. And these ‘conditions’ are impossible for general public to access on the basis of just this Notice. The Master Plan gazette notification referred to in the Notice does not contain a ‘para of Nursing Home, Guest House and Bank’ or ‘conditions applicable’ to their permissibility. In fact, it expressly prohibits Nursing Homes and Guest Houses, etc, on residential plots. These were permitted only in 1999 through a gazette notification to which the Notice makes no reference. In effect, the Public Notice neither reveals nor directs the public to what it solicits public comment about. The ‘conditions’ to be incorporated into the Plan through this defective Notice will ‘liberalize’ commercial exploitation of residential premises. In terms of scale, existing regulations permit only 25% or 50 square metres on ground floor to be used for commercial use. The 1999 notification allows 2/3 or 3/4 FAR to be so used. In terms of extent, existing regulations require identification of mixed-use streets / pockets based on detailed studies. The 1999 notification relaxes this to allow commercialisation of any plot on an 18m road, relaxable to 9m in special areas and further relaxable subject only to fire clearance. Nuisance mitigation, central to Plan regulations requiring provision of parking space inclusive of front setbacks of mixed use properties, is foregone in the 1999 notification, which ‘exempts’ private establishments from contribution to dealing with parking congestion they would cause and DDA from responsibility of detailed planning. The 1999 notification also relaxes financial liability of mis-users. All this is at the cost of neighbourhood amenity and, therefore, does not further the purpose of the Regulations sought to be modified. Nor does it account for the fact that if the proposed increase in commercial use at plot level is not offset by curtailment of commercial use at neighbourhood level, i.e., in markets, balanced development goals of residential development will be jeopardized. At city level this will add up to excess commercial use, neither needed nor sustainable, serving only real estate interests.

Of course, it was impossible for any one in public to have known all this on the basis of the Public Notice. MPISG Planner however could and did file a detailed objection, which has not been heard yet. Then, on 28 March 2003, one day after the CBI raids, DDA approved the proposal for regularizing shops in residential areas, which was reported in a newspaper on 29 March. MPISG Planner, with locus standii of having objected and not having been heard and of the issue being sub-judice in an MPISG matter, wrote to MoUD to object to the approval and copied the letter to CBI on grounds that officials caught by it had processed the approval. With reference to the D Bhowmick & others SLP a letter has, likewise, been written to CBI to seek inquiry into the approval.

Experiences with recent Public Notices DDA 56 hectare scheme for mega-housing projects, etc, in green belt, Master Plan Implementation Support Group

In July 2000 DDA demolished 50 homes in a 50-year old settlement in Rangpuri Pahari near Sultangarhi Tomb / Vasant Kunj, falling in J-zone, designated beyond urbanisable limits with Master Plan landuse rural/agriculture, inclusive of green belt and in an area notified by CGWA as being critical. Citizens groups from old bastis in the area started seeking clarifications about DDA’s scheme, J-zone plan and mandatory landuse change. In June 2001 soil testing commenced on the site and they objected formally on grounds of infringement of outstanding Plan entitlements for housing on available land. In 2001 DDA displayed at a public function on the site a scheme consisting of HIG housing and international heritage centre. MPISG called a meeting of citizens’ and professional groups to talk about the scheme details as displayed and how they were in departure from the Plan. Citizens’ groups from Mahipalpur and Rangpuri villages objected on grounds of infringement of long overdue Plan entitlements for development of facilities in the vicinity, the former also for conservation interventions’ priority. Flat residents objected on grounds of water crisis. Delhi Science Forum and Forum for Indian Heritage and Culture wrote to object to broader ground water and heritage implications. MPISG Planner and Delhi Science Forum also wrote to CGWA. In March 2002 DDA started construction through large firms. MPISG wrote to object in continuation of objections by constituent groups and to ask for clarification of techno-legal basis of the scheme. By June it was established that the scheme did not have mandatory land use change clearance and MPISG Planner wrote several times to MoUD to ask that it be immediately stopped for being illegal and also to CGWA to point out that illegal tube-wells had been sunk. In July 2002 CGWA wrote to DDA to object. MPISG Planner wrote again to MoUD with copy of this letter. When no action was forthcoming Delhi Science Forum filed a PIL in August 2002. On 11 September, after the part final hearing at which it was clear that the court had taken a very serious of view of DDA’s violation of its own Act, DDA brought out a small Public Notice for land use change in the Sunday papers on 15 September. With this it tried to persuade the court to allow it to continue construction, but the court ordered the scheme stopped and enquired into while disposing off the matter on 16 September 2002.

All constituents of MPISG ‘re-filed’ objections already filed and asked if individual objections were needed. As DDA not respond, in the second half of the 30-day notice period, MPISG ran an objection facilitation service through which over 1700 objections were filed. These were mainly from Mahipalpur and Rangpuri Pahari, most directly affected by the scheme. Residents from slums in Vasant Kunj also objected in large numbers in view of pendency in court of their case praying for settlement in the vicinity according to Plan. 20 flat residents also objected. MPISG sent the Public Notice to others and the Federation of RWAs of Vasant Kunj and FIHC also objected. MPISG Planner also wrote to various public authorities and Delhi government to point out how the scheme infringed their mandates / activities and also provisions of the Master Plan and DDA Act that enjoined upon them the responsibility to have stopped it already. Only CGWA replied to say that it had objected.

Work continued on the site in contempt of court through and beyond the Public Notice period. Very likely because of (besides MPISG complaints and letters, including a detailed one to Commissioner Planning from MPISG Planner about lapses in Public Notice process) the scale of objections filed through MPISG and the fact of their being based on infringement of Plan entitlements, work stopped in November. On 27 January 2003 DDA held a Public Hearing. The Board had planners from outside as well. MPISG sent it a report of the hearing, to which no response has been received. But the scheme has clearly been halted, perhaps till the Master Plan is revised to allow it. MPISG is geared up to continue to safeguard entitlements through the Public Notice at that stage as well.

MPISG convenors/co-convenors Lal Singh (villages), Samay Singh (old bastis / Rangpuri Pahari), Prabha Chand (flats), Mahender (hawkers), Rajinder (on behalf of recent slums) and Hoti Lal (students-parents forum) presented their experiences of the Public Hearing. These suggest that the citizens had greater understanding of the Plan in terms of their entitlements than those hearing them. MPISG believes that what made this Public Notice effective and impossible to subvert was (a) the citizens-professional combination for filing focussed objections, (b) the synergetic approach that pre-empted any divide-and-rule tactic, (c) sustained engaging by citizens against the continuing construction, (d) sustained engaging by MPISG planner against procedural lapses, and, above all (e) the firm belief that something will happen if, and only if, we do something.

Discussion decisions about the rest of the series

This discussion series is not intended for intellectual discourse on general opinions about what should be done about Delhi, but specifically for only citizens and young professionals to get together to gear up to engage on the revised Master Plan in the 90-day Public notice period to ensure existing entitlements are safeguarded and enhanced. With this purpose commitments were sought from those present for their participation on issues of interest to them so that citizens-professionals teams could form to take charge of subsequent sessions.

From experiences of MPISG what is needed of professionals is to clearly identify existing Plan entitlements and connect them to specific situations concerning citizens as well as to the broader context and, most importantly, to not advocate ideas unrelated to the statutory Plan as these may be of no use to citizens at this stage. What is required of citizens is to be prepared to give precedence to the entitlements perspective and use it to evaluate their other initiatives (such as in bhagidari) so as not to simultaneously be taking actions indirectly or directly detrimental to the pursuit of Plan entitlements. What is required of both is sustained regular interaction and also engaging various authorities directly or indirectly concerned and also extra effort to involve more professionals and citizens as issues grow or connect to other issues.

KC Nahata / Coordinator Forum of Voters has suggested need for a bigger group. AS Karandikar has also pointed out need for scale in response to Public Notice. Prabha Chand and Aruna Bhowmick expressed reservations about limiting discussions to RWAs as they do not always represent residents. VC Tandon suggested using RWAs for creating a climate of resistance as problems have grown to a point that people are beginning to understand that there is need to resist. Aruna Bhowmick drew attention to usefulness of consulting professionals.

The following specific interests / commitments for subsequent discussion responsibilities were forthcoming from citizens’ groups and young professionals:

  • From both: Regulating non-residential activity in plotted residential areas (Aruna Bhowmick / Green Park and other RWAs and others; Urmi Buragohain); Agricultural land use (K C Nahata / Forum of Voters; Jayant Gehi)
  • From citizens: Parking (A S Karandikar / Paschim Vihar)
  • From young professionals: Heritage (Nitin Sinha and others); Water (Pravin Pannikar); Informal sector (Poonam Prakash)
  • Support / input based on recent / continuing engaging in the following areas were also offered: Heritage – listing issues (Nalini Thakur, Smita Makhija); Water (D Raghunandan); Industries (Gita Dewan Verma); Housing (MPISG / Mahanagar Asangathit Mazdur Union); and hawking / commercial use / mixed use / water / parking / schools / other facilities / institutions / villages / rural land / heritage (MPISG).


  1. Vivan Sundaram, 3/9 Shanti Niketan ND-21, 26881829
  2. Chetan Sahasrabudhe, I-82 Lajpat Nagar ND-24, 9810390136
  3. Pana Lal, Advocate Supreme Court, 23385551
  4. Pravir Kumar, The Pioneer, 23718298
  5. Atish Mandal, B-58/149, Gurunanak Pura 3rd Floor, Laxmi Ngr ND-92, 9810633057
  6. Harpunit Singh Mann, E-10A Defence Colony ND, 24692143
  7. Smita Datta Makhija, 7459 B-10 Vasant Kunj ND, 26890569
  8. Pradeep Prakash, 31F/7 Jasola ND, 26974375
  9. M S Ganesh, 211 Supreme Encl. Mayur Vihar Ph.I Delhi-91, 22790258
  10. A Hassan, M.A.M.U., 1996/5 Kotla Mubarakpur ND-3, 24693278
  11. Ratnajyoti Dutta, B-86 Pandav Nagar Delhi-92, 9811174677
  12. Urmi Buragohain, I-82 Lajpat Nagar-1 ND-24, 9810881183
  13. VC Tandon, D-11 Gulmohar Park ND, 26967665
  14. Madhu Bajpai, N-7/C Saket ND-17, 26853379
  15. Richa Bansal, 1078 Vikas Kunj Vikas Puri ND-18, 25622931
  16. Pravin Pannikar, A-804 Aastwana Apts Mayr Vihar-I Delhi-91, 22719721
  17. Jayant Gehi, 11-D DDA Flats opp N Friends Colony ND-65, 9811880667
  18. R N Nandwani, IC 101 Lajpat Nagar ND-24, 29819948
  19. H N Kau, C-5/35 Vasant Kunj, 26125370
  20. Ajit Narain, C-5/5 G Fl Vasant Kunj, 26131494
  21. D Raghunandan, DSF, D158 LGF Saket ND-29, 26524324
  22. P S Bawa, EB 62 Maya Enclave ND-64, 25129048
  23. Sayed S Shafi, 22 Hauz Khas SFS Aptts ND-16, 26851171
  24. K C Nahata, Forum of voters, B-3/309 Paschim Vihar ND-63, 25286311
  25. G C Laha, PB 10846 Calcutta-700009, 22413530
  26. HN Ray, C-18 Friends Colony ND 65, 26842167
  27. B Sarat Chandra, F66 SPA Complex Taimoor Nagar ND, 9811913641
  28. Nalini Thakur, 2 SPA Complex Taimoor Nagar ND, 26934602
  29. Kruti Garg, S-27 SPA Complex Taimoor Nagar ND
  30. Yatin Jain, F-69 SPA Complex Taimoor Nagar ND, 9811469596
  31. A S Karandikar, 66 Anadvan A-6 Paschim Vihar ND, 9811414417
  32. Mohd Farhan Fazli, F-68 SPA Complex Taimoor Nagar ND
  33. T Lakshmi Priya, D-8 8040 Vasant Kunj ND, 26121114
  34. Nitin Sinha, F64 SPA Complex Taimoor Nagar ND, 9811898398
  35. Poonam Prakash, 12 SPA Complex Taimoor Nagar ND, 26318986
  36. Aruna Bhowmick, Green Park Extn ND, 26165132
  37. Ramu Chauhan, Central Market Masoodpur
  38. Lal Singh Sehrawat, Mahipalpur, MPISG
  39. Samay Singh, Rangpuri Pahari, MPISG
  40. Rajender Singh, Rangpuri Pahari, MPISG
  41. Gulab, Rangpuri Pahari, MPISG
  42. Hoti Lal, RPVEAM, MPISG
  43. Asham, RPVEAM, MPISG
  44. Praveen Yadav, RPVEAM, MPISG
  45. Sushil Verma, Vasant Kunj, MPISG
  46. Prabha Chand, Vasant Kunj, MPISG
  47. Gopal, VKRPVEM, MPISG
  48. Mahender, VKRPVEM, MPISG
  49. Ratan Paul, Arjun Camp, MPISG
  50. Md Habib, Arjun Camp, MPISG
  51. Babu Khan, Arjun Camp, MPISG
  52. Gita Dewan Verma, MPISG, 1356 DI Vasant Kunj ND-70, 26895840
  • 1. 2003 05 Idgah Public Notice
    for change of land use from residential to extensive industrial and slaughter house in Walled City
  • 2. Sub: OBJECTIONS / SUGGESTIONS in response to DDA’s Public Notice re modification to Master Plan to permit specified commercial uses in residential areas
  • 3. DDA clearance of proposal re mixed land use: Objection
  • 4. Expressway to making Delhi's land freehold
  • 5. Traffic in residential areas – News reports, PIL and planning issues
  • 6. Hawking Hawkers: How high-profile policy dialogues can lead to downsizing of citizens’ statutory entitlements
    In February 2001 I was appointed planning consultant by a group of over 350 hawkers to assist their efforts to secure implementation of statutory Master Plan provisions for space for hawkers in markets, etc. In mid-2001 our simple but well-progressing efforts were derailed in a rude encounter with a high-profile policy dialogue precipitated by premier NGOs and engaging the highest levels in government and premised on the assumption that Master Plan provisions for hawkers did not exist!
  • 7. Right housing Rights: Rangpuri Pahari Chronicle
    We, in professions or politics or government or NGOs, call them ‘slums’, their residents ‘poor’ and ‘vulnerable’ if we are good guys or ‘encroachers’ and ‘migrants’ and more if we are bad guys. In democracy that must surely be in infancy if not actually stillborn, ‘we’ do not even think of ‘them’ as citizens. Rangpuri Pahari Malakpur Kohi is a ‘slum’ because we say so. Many if not most of its residents are citizens because their actions say so, in ways that many if not most of us have yet to learn to speak.
  • 8. source:
  • 9. source:
  • 10. Sultangarhi case
    On World Environment Day the Sultangarhi scheme, an international heritage centre and about 2000 high income flats in the green belt in the ridge area duly notified for its critical ground water regime, was re-announced... in disregard of Delhi Master Plan and Delhi Development Act, of orders of Delhi High Court, of public opinion expressed through due process of Public Notice by over 1700 families amongst many more whose entitlements to land and water are threatened, of opinion of experts concerned about consequences for the city, of statutory / constitutional mandates of several agencies – in short, of most democratic processes meant to ensure lawful public interest prevails over vested interests.
  • 11. source:
  • 12. source: