The poor in Delhi live in slums because land meant for their housing has been denied to them. Slums are often on protected city space (environmentally critical or heritage resource areas, un-minded for not being developable). When opportunities arise for opening-up this space for profit (as around revisions of city plans), 'conflict between slums and cosmetic notions of conservation / renewal also surfaces. The notion of illegality of slums is based not in planning law but in conflict contrived for purposes that, with the inequity they spawn in space and time, are wholly illegal and approaches based on it can only lead to disaster.
Delhi Master Plan (DMP) provisions for ridge and riverbed
Delhi Development Act with policy of socialization of land whereby agricultural land has been compulsory acquired for nearly 50 years, requires land development and use according to DMP. For efficiency DMP provisions are detailed by due process (inclusive of Public Notice) in Zonal plans and can only be modified likewise. DMP provisions and processes are citizens’ statutory entitlements in benefits of its purpose, viz, balanced development (ie, development equitable in terms of space allocations and of maintaining over time natural and built heritage resources). Maintaining ecological balance, in terms especially of ridge and riverbed, is a central premise of DMP. The southern ridge is protected (placed beyond urbanisable limit) since 1962 for being water-constrained. The riverbed, identified as significant cultural and spatial resource, is protected from sub-optimal development by the requirement that only after “results of the model studies for the channelisation of the river Yamuna become available, development of river front should be taken up; considering all the ecological and scientific aspects, as a project of special significance for the city”. DMP also designates southern ridge and riverbed areas as Zones (respectively J-Zone and O-Zone) requiring Zonal Plans for optimal interventions. Further legal strength for ridge and riverbed protection for reasons consistent with DMP flows from notification by Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) in August 2000 of ridge area on account of over-exploitation and depletion and of Yamuna flood plain on account of “Protected Aquifers” for drinking and domestic use. CGWA notification, among other things, restores focus on water, rather than (river) pollution and (ridge) deforestation, as the key issue in Delhi’s ecosystem. Zonal Plans for riverbed and ridge, become prime land, have not been made and ad-hoc schemes pose grave threat to efficiency and equity imperatives of their development / conservation.
Delhi Master Plan provisions for housing, including housing for the poor
DMP envisages housing in terms not just of basic need but “of considerable importance to Development both in economic and welfare terms” as it provides low-income families “access to sanitation, health, education and other welfare services and income-earning opportunities” and, with “strong spatial relationship to employment, social services and other urban activities”, is potential “vehicle for social change” and “efficiency and equity of urban areas”. DMP describes “essential components” of housing (space, infrastructure, location, tenure and socio-economic compatibility) and stipulates explicit standards (25 sqm minimum plot and 300 units/Ha maximum net density) and, for affordable integrated housing, a “community module” of 1 lakh people with “25% as site and services development and about 45% housing up to 2 rooms dwellings to provide shelter for low income families”. DMP apportions housing target for 1981-2001 (16.5 lakh units) as: 3% (49000) resettlement units, 25% (4 lakh) EWS plots, 43% built housing (including for LIG), 4% employees housing and 25% on individual plots. 4 lakh EWS plots (on, at gross of half of net density of 300 units/Ha, about 3000 Ha) have not been developed. Till 30.11.03 only about 36000 resettlement plots (of about 55000 developed on 378 Ha) had been handed over. Census 2001 found 4 lakh families in slums. Obviously, Delhi’s slum problem owes entirely to failure on DMP EWS housing targets and its solution requires their priority implementation, especially since ‘alternatives’ have failed to demonstrate they are better or even just viable.
NCMP commitments for slums and renewal
NCMP speaks of renewal, social housing with particular attention to slum-dwellers and care in course of renewal to see poor are housed near their workplace and promises “forced eviction and demolition of slums will be stopped”. The suggestion that ‘renewal’ justifies evictions seems stronger in President’s address (“while undertaking urban renewal, forced eviction … will be avoided”), but President added “the verdict is for establishing the rule of law” and, to NCMP goals, equity. Development / renewal, including housing, according to statutory plans is called for by references in Prime Minister’s address (24 June) to “rule of law”, “unplanned growth of cities …making life in urban India… a living hell”, growth being “not an end … a means to …banish …homelessness and improve the standard of living of the mass of the people”, equity and efficiency being “complimentary, not contradictory” and “urban development and urban renewal… urban infrastructure in a planned manner”. Prime Minister also made equity central to NCMP (describing its essence as “the recognition that policies that are aimed at promoting economic growth must also advance the cause of distributive justice”) and connected investments to equity (by describing rationale for UPA commitment to social sector investments as unacceptability of disparities). This is consistent with the entitlements perspective of statutory plans and precludes willful renewal / evictions as well as the view of ‘social housing’ as ‘dole’ that marks recent extra-legal ‘policies’. Prime Minister’s elaboration of NCMP commitments is consistent with DMP.
Central control of planned development of Delhi and government at all levels in it currently being Congress-led provide an opportunity for restoring rule of law to solve Delhi’s slum problem and to safeguard its fragile ecosystem. With willful evictions for willful development in willful disregard of citizens’ efforts in support of DMP and NCMP continuing, this opportunity can be ignored only at cost of making UPA commitment to NCMP suspect. This (hurried) note traces slum ‘policies’ in Delhi, especially since 1999, and lists out, in the context of the willfulness underway, minimum accountability imperatives.
Slum ‘policy’ initiatives in Delhi
Housing for the poor is key purpose of DMP and explicit objective of its land policy. Reviews finding implementation skewed in favour of profitable uses led to incorporation in revised DMP (1990) of explicit targets for the poor and monitoring provisions, also required to be basis of Plan modification (for accountability). In 1990 identification for resettlement had also been done. Instead of using these advantages to solve Delhi’s slum problem, a ‘policy’ was adopted to resettle those issued ration cards by 31.01.90 – in effect ‘policy’ to abandon mandatory DMP housing for the poor. Slum Wing came to ‘control’ Delhi’s EWS, driven to slums by ‘policy’, and DDA their land, ‘spared’ by ‘policy’ (and both became scam-ridden). In 1999 MoUD, using HUDCO (also become scam-ridden) and ignoring expert objections, extrapolated to ‘draft national slum policy’ DfID’s problematic (as per commissioned impact study) upgrading projects. By this ‘policy’, central funds (through HUDCO) became available for wasteful initiatives and a ‘model’ for slum ‘policy’-making in disregard of law took root.
On 1 April 2000 Delhi Government announced ‘policy’ for resettlement in 20 and 15 sqm plots (short of DMP minimum) based on ration-card date, with cut-off (concept with no basis in DMP) of 30.11.98. On 11 April 2000 was constituted a Planning Commission ‘committee’ on Delhi slums. In May MoUD started massive resettlement with ‘policy’ of 18 and 12.5 sqm plots. In November High Court appointed a ‘committee’ to work out an ‘action plan’ for slums. DDA also set up a housing expert group for DMP revision that did nothing to inform ‘policy’ discourse about DMP solutions. (DDA Planning chief and HUDCO R&T chief chairing the group were both removed in 2003 for misuse of authority). In July 2001 a ‘suggestion’ was made to the court ‘committee’, considering some ‘pilot projects’, to ‘pilot’ DMP and also bring statutory entitlements and solutions to the attention of the court. In August 2001, at a presentation at Planning Commission experts’ round table attention was drawn to these imperatives and the Commission’s report (June 2002) makes substantive reference to them. But ‘policy’ discourse continued regardless, dominated by those who disparage DMP.
In 2002, when discourse was promoting night shelters and demanding end to resettlement, DDA/MoUD announced in June ‘policy’ of only HIG flats (through reputed construction companies) and in October ‘policy’ of in-situ flats on slums (as in Mumbai, despite multiple DMP violations the ‘model’ involves in Delhi). In November High Court quashed Delhi’s slum ‘policy’ for having no basis in law and called for an alternative. (The matters in which the court had appointed a ‘committee’ had separately ended). Those criticizing resettlement ‘policy’ started criticizing the court for quashing it. ‘Consensus’ grew on Mumbai ‘model’ (on which DDA at instance of Delhi Government and HUDCO at instance of MoUD were working) and, in defiance of court, bids were invited from NGO-builders. Proceedings for fresh land acquisition for resettlement also started in defiance of court and went on despite s.4 objections on this ground. In name of court orders (while MCD slum wing, in formal partnership with multi-national Action Aid (AA), did things with night shelters and Chief Minister regretted inability to solve the housing problem and promised priority to it if elected for another term) DDA started mid-winter evictions that the court had not quite ordered.
Meanwhile, in a case by slum citizens seeking relocation not in violation of but according to DMP, in August 2002 High Court directed DDA’s immediate compliance on clarification of DMP entitlements. In September 2002 High Court stopped and ordered inquiry into mega-housing started (under ‘policy’ for only HIG flats) in a ‘scheme’, including also international heritage centre, in DMP green belt in CGWA notified J-Zone. In response to belated Public Notice for this 1700 families objected from adjoining 50-year old ‘slum’ partly demolished for it, 14th century ‘urban village’ seeking DMP heritage interventions, etc. Hearing (of a dozen) was held on 27.01.03 by a panel, including those of the court appointed ‘committee’, that could not tell why, despite court orders, neither were DMP entitlements clarified nor DMP violating ‘scheme’ fully stopped / inquired into, or why – under garb of later court order ‘obtained’ by keeping DMP facts and, in any case, not calling for them – were mid-winter evictions that DMP did not even remotely contemplate being effected.
In February 2003, about the ‘suggestion’ that it ‘pilot’ its DMP mandate, DDA wrote to say it “will be looked into at the time of preparation of detailed schemes”. Tendering scam in mega-housing ‘scheme’ was exposed. HIG ‘scheme’ was not selling and was offered, in DMP violation, on freehold to government officials, NRIs, second home buyers and speculators. In March CBI caught the ‘DDA scam’. One of the cases (with a sitting judge implicated) was a restaurant-bar that had usurped, for parking, a water body (adjoining flats with RWAs active in rainwater harvesting in Bhagidari), while occupying the site for EWS housing about which slum citizens had not received clarification despite court order. In June Lok Sabha Standing Parliamentary Committee invited views on functioning of DDA and representations were made by groups engaging in support of DMP, including in slum and resettlement areas.
Meanwhile, in SLP against the November 2002 order, government ‘obtained’ (by not mentioning DMP violations in resettlement) Supreme Court permission for allotments subject to SLP outcome. Simultaneously, through same matters, it ‘obtained’ (by not mentioning DMP imperatives for riverbed) High Court order for clearance of riverbed encroachments in two months. Request was made for legal riverbed plan and legal slum policy and for start of encroachment removal with Metro Depot (come up in violation of DMP and expanding despite pending objections in response to belated Public Notice, using CGWA notified drinking water for train-washing, probably polluting river / ground water with wastewater, etc). No action was taken on time-bound High Court order, but Supreme Court provisional allotment permission was stretched to step up land acquisition for illegal resettlement.
Delhi government announced priority to housing for officers and ministers, including in metro property. For the poor its mentioned in its budget 3164 flats DSIDC was building in Bawana (where thousands resettled had no jobs since DSIDC had not relocated industries to Bawana), passed an Assembly resolution against evictions, promised on 28 May a ‘white paper’ on slums in two months and claimed in June credit for Election Commission ‘stay’ on evictions. Evictions did not stop and to options for lending ‘legitimacy’ to them was added ‘EC clearance’, as used for evictions from Humayun’s Tomb.
DDA approved in June 2003 mega-housing / heritage ‘scheme’ (with inquiry still to happen). In July the area’s 14th century dam broke. In August Chief Minister laid foundation stone for an international liver institute in another part of CGWA notified DMP green belt. She also laid foundation stone for air-conditioned mandi in DMP regional (ridge) park where old shops and homes were demolished without notice. DDA announced ‘scheme’ for malls and ‘biodiversity (ridge) park’ on a site including 39 Ha DMP residential land (enough for 5000 EWS families), with no ‘policy’ in sight for old ‘slums’ on it. On the riverbed encroachment for Commonwealth Games Village began and encroachment plans for IT park / BPO and call centres commercial SEZ on site encroached by Metro Depot progressed.
In July 2003 AA-MCD called for DMP modification to allow round-the-clock night shelters (with option of commercial use) in community halls, etc. They ‘rejected’ available DMP option of space in government buildings, etc. MCD did not say why Slum Wing was almost exclusively dedicated to night sheltering. MoUD did not say why it was extrapolating AA-MCD ideas to ‘policy’. Chief Minister offered support for NGO takeover of community halls for sheltering homeless and suggested NCR development for housing the poor (suggestion to shift liver institute, etc, for NCR development was rejected) and made no mention of the ‘white paper’. DDA responded to her criticism of it by saying it was studying Mumbai Model and, afterwards, announced three ‘pilot projects’ for it. (Objections were reiterated, also to Standing Parliamentary Committee, and in a letter about NGO global propaganda against Indian law, courts and professions, with illustrative list of violations being advocated, to President whose Secretariat forwarded it to MoUD Secretary for appropriate action).
In ‘compliance’ of order of November 2002 (challenged in SLP by government) MCD started surveys to evict ‘ineligible’ persons from resettlement areas. (This evolved into a way of ‘expanding’ stock to justify evictions). Delhi government, on the other hand, had drafted a Bill to modify the cooperative societies Act to legalize power-of-attorney sales, etc. On 25 July Delhi Minister who was to table the Bill admitted in a newspaper that freehold conversion that it made mandatory was DMP violation requiring Public Notice for DMP modification before the Bill (an issue raised also about provisions in other proposed legislation). On 27 July concerned citizens handed to all MLAs about to discuss in Assembly an admittedly defective Bill an appeal to discuss instead the ‘white paper’ on slums that had become due. The Bill was tabled and passed unanimously.
Also on 27 July MoUD issued, with no basis either in statutory provisions for MoUD control of DDA or in statutory DMP revision process, ‘guidelines’ for DMP revision (hardly different from ‘recommendations’ issued at a seminar in 1999 and ‘guiding’ DDA since), that said “affordable housing has to be brought within the reach of economically weaker sections and of new migrants” and “existing slums/JJ clusters ought to be ameliorated by a judicious mix of relocation and in-situ development”. With no accountability about (in fact converting to ‘advantage’) abandonment of low-income housing purpose of public land acquisition, they equated slums to encroachment by migrants and described them as ‘negative fallout’ of land policy to advise, on basis of ‘progress’ made ‘in a number of seminars’, its abandonment and greater role for private sector in land development and flexible land use.
Having frustrated the task of Parliamentary Committee examining DDA by obfuscating its frame of reference with ‘guidelines’ MoUD told Lok Sabha on 29 July “Government is not aware of any repeated demand to probe the functioning of DDA”. Appeals about illegality of were lost in ‘DMP guidelines’ hype. Builders welcomed them and, since they operate in the guise of cooperatives, also the Bill (reportedly ‘processed’ in DDA by a key scam accused). Those disparaging DMP used them to criticize DMP more. Both sides of discourse morphed and the scam of DMP abandonment resumed as “action against violators of law (came) to a standstill for an indefinite period” under the garb of ‘guidelines’ (as observed in Supreme Court judgment of 7 May 2004). Resettlement, in-situ options and night shelters talk went on, as did evictions. Perhaps for feel-good, Delhi government declared results of its ‘survey’ to find conditions in slums not too bad and relocation distance of 10-15 km acceptable.
Amidst all this, a Court order of November 2003 connecting the slum problem to DMP EWS housing failure went unnoticed. And 2004 began with ‘policy’ by government decision of 3 January for belated and selective compliance in a part of Yamuna Pushta of the court order of 3 March 2003 for clearance of all riverbed encroachments. The ‘scheme’ for which Pushta was cleared has no basis in law in absence of legal riverbed zonal plan. Clearance of Pushta has no basis in law in absence of legal slum policy. In name of court thousands were dispossessed in illegal ways, inclusive of contempt of court on simple things like buses for school children till exams and option of part payment on account of short notice. In name of Election Commission, thousands were disenfranchised by loss of documents and procedures that made resettlement ‘eligibility’ and ability to pay full amount for it and suchlike pre-condition for protecting right to vote. With unprecedented Police ‘protection’ MCD openly extorted Rs 7000 instead of Rs 5000 for 12.5 sqm plots… The truth about Pushta is tormenting, and the indifference to it terrifying. Complaints against illegalities at every stage, from notices in every demolition in Pushta to instructions to not build on resettlement plots, and requests for hearing and for clearance according to law evoked no response.
Politicians using Election Commission debated electoral implications of slums. PIL lawyers using courts debated perceptions about people being evicted and adequacy of resettlement with no reference to statutory entitlements or standards. ‘Experts’ held forth on aesthetics of slums and schemes. Media bought and sold the peculiar construct of ‘voluntary evictions’. Nobody from amongst all of these was in Pushta as it all happened and their discourse ‘proved’ yet again the illusory ‘conflict’ that begets the notion of ‘illegality’ of slums and, with Pushta tolerated by the city, also the ‘successful’ planting of the absurdity of willful development justifying willful evictions with proviso only of willful dole for the evicted.
It is significant that while Pushta was being cleared, in Metro Depot across the river – visible from anywhere on the stretch DDA cleared – was being built an IT park more illegal than the Depot as commercial use was not covered even by formality of mandatory Public Notice for change of land use. (Another Public Notice was also issued for DMP modification to allow more unfettered metro property development). Delhi Government Secretariat – visible from several places on the stretch MCD cleared and a use added on riverbed without mandatory Public Notice – did nothing for Pushta and formed backdrop for media pictures of high-capacity buses (lately shelved). In ridge regional park area Delhi government had made a garden of 5 senses (district park in DMP terms) while foundation stone for Aravali Biodiversity park (ridge regional park) next to mall sites auctioned while their legality was challenged in courts was laid by LG and 4 MPs (3 ministers) on land meant for district park and housing. Promised ‘benefits’ mentioned by dignitaries included end of ‘encroachments’ (old ‘slums’), as also claimed in 2002 in defence of demolition without notice of 50 year old settlement in ridge green belt (which NHRC accepted to close the matter) and, on affidavit, of illegal mega-housing that required it that court stopped but MoUD cleared, without court-directed inquiry, around the time Pushta clearance was cleared. Ongoing and promised evictions from riverbed and ridge area were accompanied by allowing commercial misuse (inclusive of illegal groundwater withdrawal) of farmhouses for parties and regularization of unauthorized colonies. And, near resettlement areas where ‘eligible’ Pushta evictees were sold puny plots on temporary license (without being told allotment was subject to outcome of an SLP and High Court order against which the SLP was filed was being used for canceling allotments), Janta flats were allotted to some waitlist on freehold basis at over 2 lakhs each.
Pushta voters returned to Pushta to vote (an option they had demanded – ‘theoretically’ also earlier with others in a demand about EC first slum directive for Assembly Elections, included in representations to Parliamentary Committee – for somewhat different reasons than given by those who claimed credit for it). Both major contestants have said Pushta affected the outcome of their election. Indeed, in both Assembly and Parliament elections in Delhi, Congress benefited from evictions as well as from seemingly environment friendly initiatives. There could be many ways of interpreting the people’s mandate in Delhi through two elections, but none would justify the inertial initiatives apropos housing for the poor, ridge and riverbed that the capital has witnessed since, and in spite of, adoption of NCMP.
UPA / Delhi government slum initiatives / ideas in Delhi
‘As part of Delhi government policy to provide relocated people basic amenities’ CM visited resettlement on 23 and 29 May and 19 June. Delhi government’s ‘4-point demand charter’ for MoUD, reported on 1 June, included one-room flats to replace slums. On his first visit to DDA on 17 June union urban development minister spoke of need to involve private sector in housing and limited acquisition to avoid ‘encroachment’. Supreme Court’s adverse remark on them notwithstanding, commitment to ‘DMP guidelines’ for slum / land ‘policy’ continues.
Urban minister called for “beautifying” the riverbed and on 2 July DDA put in press pictures reminiscent of ‘pretty’ pictures to sell Pushta clearance. Press reported on other riverbed encroachments – study trips abroad for Commonwealth village, former LG’s parting remarks in praise of Akshardham, DMRC PR for metro IT park, Builders’ Congress Award for Delhi Secretariat (presented by President accompanied by urban minister, also to Garden of 5 Senses in the ridge). The minister directed DDA to enforce ‘DMP guideline’ (including praise for ridge riverbed ‘biodiversity parks’ helping sell-well unintended up-market development) for more-green, possible only by less-people now, with, say, resumption of liver institute in DMP green belt (reported 29 June), gifting of land in Asola ridge sanctuary for NGO centre (reported 20 June, a month after decision to hire private security to protect it from communities within it), etc. Urban minister’s call to DDA to tap tourism potential, other ministers’ monumental night-life plans, corporate suggestions for tourist facility near airport, etc, all signal a tourist-before-city view of DMP greens connecting ridge to riverbed through monuments. While encroachment on public land by government grows, Delhi government, purportedly at instance of CVC, has directed videography of ‘government land’ to prevent encroachment by citizens (reported 1 July). Commitment to replace ‘encroachment’ by no choice with willful ‘renewal’ on protected city spaces continues
With Delhi government proposing one-room flats (also by DSIDC, reported 24 June) and minister saying these have ‘lost relevance’ (and DDA saying on 25 June it will not build them) continues ‘debate’ that is irrelevant as janta flats are (a) not contemplated, DMP stipulating EWS plots and (b) being offered to some waitlist with formal/informal permission for misuse. Their ‘relevance’ to EWS is that a waitlist of 20000, rather than DMP target of 4 lakh (and more for LIG), is used to obfuscate ‘backlog’ and suggest ‘illegality’ of slums. Reports of minister’s visit also mention Janta/LIG backlog of 20475. Obfuscation continues.
With Delhi government suggesting slum cooperatives and DDA announcing (on 19 Jun) that it is not going to allot land to cooperatives continues ‘debate’ that is irrelevant. Slums duly ‘co-operativised’ (with charges by MCD, empowerment by NGOs) are also evicted, as in Pushta. And cooperatives are increasingly becoming front for realtors. DDA is seized of this but it / MoUD have not reacted to notification (reported 18 May) of new Cooperative Act that, in conflict with Delhi Development Act, mandatorily condones ‘misuse’ housing for a fee, nor to the decision (reported 29 June) to pander – on pretext of sudden sighting of anomalies calling for review before Act, not yet in force, can be re-notified – to power-of-attorney misusers by relaxing even this fee. Pay-and-party ‘policy’ to allow misuse of space by non-poor (pioneered in 2002 with idea to allow commercial use of industrial plots that Supreme Court quashed but government extended to freehold ‘policy’ and farmhouse party ‘policy’) continues. (Incidentally, on 19 May sale of groundwater by farmhouses was also reported).
Contrasting ‘responsiveness’ to objections to Cooperative Bill before it was tabled and after it was notified marks also other initiatives. On the riverbed there has been no response to ‘representations’ since order of 3 March 2003 to requests for assessment that was part of Pushta clearance decision of 3 January 2004 (made also, along with umpteenth request for inquiry called by court of ridge / J-zone scheme, in letter about Builders’ awards to MoUD accompanying the one to President on 11 June that President’s Secretariat forwarded for appropriate action on 18 June). But at the instance of area MP a two-day ‘camp’ (reported on 19 June) was held, with no prior publicity, at which 350 out of some 950 (out of over 15000) families evicted from Pushta without resettlement were now found eligible for plots. In ridge area also there has been no response to ‘representations’ made, in continuation of those since 2000 for DMP solutions, since adoption of NCMP (see Annexure) – including from those recently served eviction ‘notice’ and those evicted without resettlement last year (about which CMO has provided two more letters to DDA in continuation of last years’ two, while an RWA office-bearer has put in a claim for Rs.5000 for Bhagidari effort on three projects, one being eviction of slum citizens – while their ‘DDA scam’ connected matter was sub-judice). Selective Bhagidari for scamming and covering up scamming continues.
On 26 June MoUD constituted a 7-officials committee to prepare ‘a comprehensive Master Plan to make the Capital slum-free in 5 years’ in two weeks, perhaps in time for budget. This has nothing to do with statutory DMP. It will ‘explore possibility’ of substitutes for DMP entitlements advocated by ‘DMP guidelines’ (about which Supreme Court has made adverse remarks) in context of ‘existing policy’ (that High Court has quashed for having no basis in law and Supreme Court has not allowed in SLP). And it will be ‘prepared’ by the very officials responsible for abandonment of DMP and for indifference to citizens’ efforts in support of DMP, efforts inclusive of representations, reports, Public Notices responses, court matters, submissions before Standing Parliamentary Committee, all of which are pending and which 7 officials are not competent to settle or pre-empt. Subversion continues.
On 28 June began Pushta-like ‘voluntary eviction’ with threat of demolition on 2 July of Lakhet’s old settlements now ‘needing’ to be cleared for ‘biodiversity park’ not contemplated in DMP. Demolition programme was confirmed in the morning by local police that, while accepting a complaint against illegal boring with seismic implications and illegal boundary wall construction without project board and possible illegality of demolition, etc, said NCMP is not their job. Efforts to contact leaders expressing support to NCMP/slums revealed also absence of ‘system’ for citizens to report breach of NCMP promises in the Capital. Someone in PMO was kind enough to suggest an urgent fax and provide a number. By noon the police station said it had postponed the demolition for administrative reasons. By then, several had dismantled and some had abandoned their homes (see photographs in Annexure) out of fear, fear made chilling with news report of same day accompanying DDA’s pretty picture of ‘Chill-out zone on Yamuna front’ saying those who had returned to Pushta would be ‘persuaded’ to leave. What was done to Pushta in war-like operation insidiously continues.
Minimum accountability imperatives
DMP provisions for housing for the poor and ridge and riverbed are non-negotiable minimum equity (including sustainability, ie, trans-generational equity) imperatives. Through processes spreading like cancer across systems of democracy – Courts, Commissions, Parliament, office of President – their subversion continues, belying NCMP acceptance of its mandate being welfare of weaker sections and wellbeing of the common man, President pointing out the verdict is for restoring rule of law and Prime Minister describing essence of NCMP in terms of distributive justice. The following do not answer the situation but are minimal accountability demands, made also on behalf of three dozen client groups who mark today 4 years of synergistic efforts in support of DMP that started with demolition without notice on 5 July 2000 of part of a 50-year old settlement to make way for illegal mega-housing:
- s.41 direction to stop all scheming in J-Zone (ridge) and O-Zone (riverbed) till notification of Zonal Plans and, in view of NCMP promise, of evictions in their name.
- Assessment, as decided at meeting of 3 January, of riverbed encroachment removal. Inquiry into J-Zone scheme, called for in High Court judgment of 16 September 2002.
- Hearing by Parliamentary Committee of views on DDA invited by it on 22 June 2003 and stoppage, meanwhile, of all DMP modification attempts outside revision by due process
- Examination of all slum, ridge and riverbed matters before courts and commissions for adequacy of reference to DMP provisions and mandatory monitoring data about targets.
(20 ridge area ‘slum’ groups have made on 4th anniversary of willful eviction in 2000 of 50-year old settlement for willful encroachment by 56 Ha scheme in green belt the demand for either that or 39 Ha residential space usurped by ‘ridge biodiversity park’; 3 cultivators’ settlements in Pushta are discussing demand to stop riverbed schemes till their suggestion of urban agriculture there has been considered; groups in resettlement areas will be reiterating long-standing accountability demands)
ANNEXURE: NCMP-DMP correspondence about housing for the poor and ridge and riverbed
- 27.05.04: Letter to DDA Commissioner (Planning) wrt news report of DDA plans to continue Pushta clearance to ask he ensure no eviction till response to letters of 09 and 11.05.04 seeking clarifications about entitlements pursuant to assurances by former Tourism Minister to cultivators’ settlements and letters of 05 and 13.04.04 suggesting urban agriculture on riverbed, for these to be included in response to Public Notice to modify DMP for ‘metro property development’ and for public meeting.
- 27.05.04: Letter to DDA VC from Rangpuri Pahari on behalf of all for meeting about options in flats proposed (wrt tender), with indications of resumption of 56 Ha scheme that had required demolition
- 27.05.04: Letter to CM from demolished Rajiv Gandhi Camp / Arjun Camp for letter to DDA for interim option pending court case w.r.t of two of 2003 (CMO wrote DDA VC to consider within a week)
- 30.05.04: Letter to Secretary MoUD wrt attempt to evict Pushta cultivators reiterating requests and asking how to be associated as expert on the assessment of riverbed encroachment removal and enclosing a note on the opportunities and imperatives arising from NCMP-DMP convergence.
- 02.06.04: Following distribution on 31.05.04 of ‘offer-cum-demand’ letters for illegal plots to a few in one of 6 camps in Lalkhet, request to DDA VC (cc MoUD) for meeting and offer as per NCMP-DMP
- 06.06.04: Letter to DDA Commissioner (Planning) wrt NCMP-DMP opportunities arising from Supreme Court judgment on Industries upholding DMP provisions and processes, asking for response to correspondence apropos Pushta cultivators’ settlements
- 07.06.04: Letter to Secretary MoUD wrt news reports of study trip abroad for Commonwealth Games Village to point out illegality of expenditure u/s.22(2) and to ask again how to be associated on assessment of riverbed encroachment removal and for response to letter of 22.01.04 to President about DMP subversion, forwarded for appropriate action as per letter of 11.02.04.
- 11.06.04: Letters about Indian Builders’ Congress Awards for ridge / riverbed violations (given by President) - to Council of Architecture (for investigation), MoUD Secretary (to ask again how to associate on assessment and for court-ordered inquiry) and to President to apologize for the situation.
- 13.06.04: Request to DDA VC (cc Secy MoUD) for meeting in view of activity of touts in Lalkhet
- 16.06.04: Letter to DDA VC (cc CMO) from Rajiv Gandhi Camp / Arjun Camp to request response in view of CMO letter of 27.05.04 for consideration within a week (CMO gave reminder letter to DDA VC)
- 18.06.04: Reply No. P1/A – 44582 from President’s Secretariat saying letter of 11.06.04 had been forwarded to Secretary MoUD for appropriate action.
- 20.06.04: Letter to Secretary MoUD (cc MoEF, MoT, DST, CGWA, CoA) about continuing ridge and riverbed violations and arbitrary housing interventions to request, wrt to letters of 11.06.04 about builders’ awards involving office of President for suchlike, s.41 direction for court ordered inquiry, etc
- 21.06.04: Request to DDA VC (cc Secy MoUD and leaders) wrt to assurances/statements of leaders in support of their request for legal offer and remarks against leaders by DDA staff in Lalkhet
- 22.06.04: Letter to DDA VC (cc Secy Civil Aviation) about eviction notice in Nangal by AAI to ask for resettlement in view of demands for same since 1972 when the land was acquired and for meeting
- 25.06.04: Letter to thank PM for reference to planned development and plannerly focus on equity in his address to the nation, enclosing summary of NCMP-DMP notes and full note on schools.
- 27.06.04: Request from 8 settlements in Nangal waiting clarification about relocation options for ‘camp’ cum meeting, as per DDA VC quote about ‘camp approach’ (cc: Secy MoUD, Secy CA)
- 27.06.04: Request for ‘camp’ cum meeting, mentioning fear being created by threats without formal notice in Lalkhet (cc Secy MoUD and leaders)
- 27.06.04: Demand for ‘camp’ on priority in Rajiv Gandhi Camp / Arjun Camp in view of not having been heard despite (1) drawing attention since 2002 to scamming in resettlement (proven by ‘camp’ in Pushta), (2) court order of 2002, (3) at hearing of Public Notice responses in 2003, (4) representation to Standing Parliamentary Committee, (5) four letters from CMO to DDA, etc, with violations on and around site from which evicted (cc CMO, Lok Sabha Sectt, CGWA, CBI, Secy MoUD)
- 28.06.04: Letter on behalf of citizens in resettlement areas for schedule of ‘camps’, etc
- 28.06.04: Joint demand for ‘camp’ in view of court orders of 2002 not having been complied with, 1700 objections in response to Public Notice heard in 2003 having been scuttled, representations to Standing Parliamentary Committee in 2004 pending hearing, court matters being delayed, illegal development continuing, being groups engaging within ambit of DMP and ones to suggest to Pushta citizens demand of ‘camp’ for redress, later made on their behalf to area MP prior to elections.
- 28.06.04: Letter to Secretary MoUD (cc GNCTD and LG, PM and Lok Sabha Secretariats) to request budget provisions for social housing are not diverted to inferior ‘alternatives’ to statutory solutions
- 28.06.04: Letter about oral ‘notice’ in Lalkhet for 02.07.04 to say demolition would amount to forcible eviction in view of non-response, breach of NCMP meriting stoppage (cc Secy MoUD, SHO, etc)
- 02.07.04: Police complaint about illegal boring, etc, for illegal schemes and illegality of evictions for them asking personal responsibility by officers, etc, wrt Lalkhet demolition programme
- 02.07.04: Urgent fax to PM on suggestion received from PMO re Lalkhet demolition programme
- 04.07.04: Joint demand by 20 groups in ridge area for budget and directions for EWS housing according to DMP on either 39 Ha being usurped by ‘ridge biodiversity park’ or in 56 Ha for scheme in green belt (sent, with request for support and opportunity for hearing, to Lok Sabha Sectt, Prime Minister, Chairperson NAC, Urban Development Minister, LG / DDA Chairman, and leaders / parties expressing support for NCMP/slum citizens in Delhi)
- 05.07.04: Letters accompanying this note (to DDA, MoUD, Police Commissioner, LG) and to Committee