2003-05-20: Objection to Union Cabinet approval of conversion of leasehold to freehold, a substantive modification of Master Plan land policy, without mandatory Public Notice and holistic consideration of implications, in disregard of sub-judice matters and in furtherance of commodification of land acquired over 40 years under a policy of socialisation of land.
2003-07-05: Objection to surveys for cancellation of allotments in cases of resale in resettlement colonies on grounds, among others, of inequity vis-a-vis moves to condone power-of-attorney transactions in DDA and Cooperative flats, also occupying public land given at less than market rates and hence beneficiaries of subsidy under the land policy.
2003-07-11: News reports12 about notification of policy to regularise illegal additions in DDA flats. The move had attracted widespread criticism when it was announced in January, but the debate failed to dwell on implications of the move as part of the larger clutch of liberalization moves that will open up existing housing stock to becoming up-market contrary to Master Plan land policy and so amounting to a substantive Plan modification requiring due process inclusive of Public Notice and not mere policy notification (see mail-list post 3of January). There was no reported political opposition.
2003-07-13: News report4 about Chief Minister blaming Central government for delay in the Cooperative Bill (to, among other things, regularise power-of-attorney transactions in copperative flats) followed by a news report5 in the same week of Central government's approval of the Bill. No response of any kind had been received to the objections of 20.05.2003 and 05.07.2003 about conversions to freehold in general and about the inequity of having a different approaches for resettlement colonies.
2003-07-18: News report6 about Citizens' Joint Statement7 for implementation of Master Plan provisions for low income housing to solve the slum problem, included in memoranda sent to Standing Parliamentary Committee by signatory groups, which makes a point about the inequality in the approach towards resale of allotted homes by the rich and the poor.
2003-07-22: News reports1011 about a high-level committee to review pricing policy for DDA flats, purportedly with a view to make them competitive and on account of recent experiences of flats being surrendered, etc. The reports failed to mention that the cases of recent experiences all those in which HIG schemes had been floated last year for flats built for MIG and LIG and also that the Master Plan recommends plotted rather than flatted development. A week later it was reported that LG, who had appointed the review committee, while announcing guidelines to open up housing supply by private builders in radical departure from current Plan policy, 'admits that DDA flats aren't selling too well'.
2003-07-26: News report12 about Delhi Development Minister Haroon Yusuf denying discrimination in coincidence of a Bill to regularise power-of attorney sales of flats and surveys to cancel allotments in case of resettlement plots' but, along with BJP legislator Nand Kishore Garg, conceding that the Cooperative Bill required prior Public Notice for the change in land law being made. This followed a news report13 the previous day about conflict between the Bill and Delhi Development Act.
2003-07-30: Despite the admitted legal lapse and citizens' requests the Cooperative Bill was introduced in Delhi Assembly on 28.07.2003. Simultaneously, Master Plan guidelines to among other things allow greater builder activity were announced by Central Government and LG. The next day the Cooperative Bill was passed and a news report about builders welcoming the guidelines said "Dwarka is an example of how big builders had to make a backdoor entry by buying up group housing societies rather than construct on their own". The Cooperative Bill was quietly sent for Presidential assent as the guidelines hogged headlines. Law and instruction for land loot: Open letter to President14.
2003-08-02: DDA's Solicitation of offers from banks15 with a view to involve nationalised and scheduled commercial banks for its forthcoming schemes, including "to handle the scheme of Conversion and Industrial and Commercial Plots from lease hold to free hold", with no response to the objection of 20.05.2003 mentioning need for Public Notice but consistent with the guideline about flexible land use even as the guidelines are still being purportedly debated and have been posted by DDA on its website for comment.
2003-08-03: News report16 about start of scheme for regularisation of existing illegal and making of new additions and alterations in DDA flats on 04.08.2003. The Policy & Procedure17 for the same was already posted on DDA's website on 24.07.2003. The guideline about addressing this matter in a wide perspective , possibly in terms of rights for reconstructing the outdated and derelict structures by making use of the incentive of higher FAR now permitted , and the scheme appear to be mutually inconsistent to the extent that people mind end up making investments in regularising or making additions where in a wide perspective reconstruction may soon follow. On the other hand, in a wide perspective it is consistent with the guideline as it will pave the way to reconstruction by abetting in equal measure land market buoyancy and dereliction of built stock.
Union Cabinet approval of conversion from leasehold to freehold
Union Cabinet has reportedly approved on 19.05.2003 conversion of leasehold industrial and commercial, besides residential and mixed use, properties to freehold. The scheme for residential properties is to start immediately and for industrial and commercial properties in 15 days. Union Urban Development Minister has claimed that the move will benefit 13000 industrial and 10000 commercial plots and raise revenues for the state. Newspapers have reported that conversion of about 100000 residential properties converted in previous rounds have netted 455 crores. Revenue to the tune of 500 to 600 crores is expected from conversion of industrial, commercial and mixed use properties. Delhi government has called the Centre’s move ‘a political stunt’ and Delhi urban development minister has been quoted asking, "If the Centre is so concerned about people’s welfare, why didn’t they allow such conversion three years back?" Some other expert but weak criticism, such as about likelihood of misuse of free hold properties, undue benefit to power-of-attorney holders, exaggerated revenue estimates, etc, has also been reported.18192021
This, unfortunately, is the level at which the debate around freehold conversions has settled each time it has come up. Leasehold land tenure is part and parcel of Delhi's land policy under Delhi's Master Plan. Through this policy of socialization of urban land cheaply acquired public land was placed at the disposal of the state to secure equitable development according to Plan, with safeguarding the interests of the poor and preventing speculation and concentration land in few hands as explicit objectives. Any change in the tenure policy must be evaluated against these policy objectives till the objectives themselves are changed by constitutional amendment to no longer require the state to be a welfare state. In any case, a change in the tenure policy that is part of the Master Plan amounts to a Plan modification and can only be effected by due process of Plan modification, inclusive of public scrutiny and comment, that cannot be circumvented by a Cabinet approval. Moreover, at the moment, the matter of disposal of commercial space on freehold basis is also sub-judice in the matter of Master Plan Implementation Support Group and others v/s DDA and MoUD. The matter of industrial land is both sub-judice and highly contentious. The matter of residential space disposal on freehold basis and related content of recent advertisements and tenders issued by DDA has also been questioned. All these issues are going to be ignored, but need to be acknowledged.
The following is the text of a letter sent on 20.05.2003 to Union Urban Development Minister to object to the freehold policy.
Sub: Objection to your ‘policy’ for conversion from leasehold to freehold
I am writing this letter in the following capacities:
My concern about your ‘policy’ announcement has nothing to do either with weak objections being raised by non-planners in the media or with weaker justifications that you are espousing. The ‘debate’ on whether it is right or wrong to ‘benefit’, say, GPA property owners has nothing to do with citizens, including GPA owners, as property market interventions not based in demand and supply equations create only artificial distortions that only serve speculators. And the ‘debate’ on whether or not the state will raise the revenues it is hoping to raise is irrelevant, as the revenue-raising argument itself is untenable because land has been vested in the state for the express purpose of development according to Plan and not for raising money from it in ways that work against this purpose. The last is the core of my concern and in this regard permit me to draw your attention to the following on p.7 of the Master Plan, as promulgated in 1962:
Leasehold tenure is thus part and parcel of the land policy enunciated in the Master Plan. Modification in tenure policy amounts to modification of the Plan, attracting provisions of s.11A of DD Act. Moreover, since public land in Delhi has been acquired for development according to the Master Plan, your ‘policy’ in effect modifies the purpose of past land acquisition and cannot have sanctity without s.11A process. I fail to see how this due process of law can be over-ridden by a Cabinet approval. Also, modifications to the Plan are expected to further the goals of the Plan. Even the most cursory Plan monitoring data will bear out that your ‘policy’ is contrary to imperatives and essential priorities vis-à-vis Plan goals and targets and, so, is objectionable.
Freehold tenure is contrary to, and in fact a negation of, goals of Delhi’s land policy and will promote speculative and inequitable use of land. Speculation is inevitable in liberalizing property transfers in a context of supply shortages. Permit me to illustrate the inequity implications for all four major land use categories – inter se, since you have clarified that freehold tenure does not mean free-for-all land use (for which clarification I am grateful as a planner):
Even the ‘revenue-generation’ that you speak of will promote inequitable development contrary to purpose of land policy. As mentioned in the excerpt from the Plan, leasehold tenure is meant to provide open-ended revenue generation options to the state. Your policy substitutes them with a one-time conversion fee, with incentives to boot. This is unlikely to stand up to any rigorous comparative appraisal and amounts to relinquishing the state’s long-term revenue options. There is, furthermore, an inequity dimension to the use of the revenue raised. All land-based revenue under the land policy was meant to go back into the Revolving Fund for securing equitable development according to Plan. Last year it was reported that 100 crores from the revenue raised from freehold conversion of flats was transferred to MCD around municipal elections for maintenance activities. This amounts to abdicating cross-subsidy responsibilities central to the land policy for benefit of poorer sections and is nothing short of profiteering on public land. Together with relinquishing long-term revenue raising options, this makes for an unviable model of financing equitable urban development, contrary not only to the interests of the poor but also to the interests of all citizens as all are affected by the failure to solve problems of slums, non-conforming industries, unplanned hawking, etc, as well as by infrastructure stress due to excessive unplanned up-market use of the city’s land.
In view of the foregoing, I request the following:
(a) this letter be treated as a formal objection to your ‘policy’ under the right to object guaranteed to me by s.11A of Delhi Development Act of 1957.
(b) the basis of your ‘policy’ decision be made public in the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act of 2003, especially since those who would have processed this proposal in DDA are all in jail, accused of what amounts to subversion of the Plan.
Gita Dewan Verma
There have been reports, though not in media, of start of surveys for cancellation of allotments in cases of resale in resettlement colonies. This is purportedly in compliance with the High Court's directions of November 2002 in the order quashing the resettlement policy that government has otherwise challenged in Supreme Court. This selective part compliance is also inconsistent with simultaneous moves to condone power-of-attorney transactions in DDA and Cooperative flats, which are also beneficiaries of cross-subsidy benefits under Delhi's policy of socialisation of land inasmuch as public land occupied by them was also given at reasonable rather than market rates. Government has yet to respond to repeated requests to place in its SLP full facts of Delhi Master Plan and land policy and some NGOs are talking of raising the issue of these surveys in some international forum for redress.
The following is the text of a letter sent to Central, state and local governments to object to ask for the surveys to be stopped and the matter to be resolved by the government in court in public interest before it is taken up by NGOs in international fora.
The point of inequity about different approaches for dealing with the same violation by the poor who had no choice but to buy resettlement plots and by the rich, including realtors, whose violation is more willful, in unjustly different ways is also made in the Citizens' Joint Statement22 about implementation of Master Plan entitlements for low income housing to solve the slum problem, being included in memoranda being sent to Standing Parliamentary Committee by the signatory groups.
05 July 2003
Sub: Surveys for identifying ‘ineligible’ families in resettlement areas
Ref: My letter of 20.05.03 to object to ‘policy’ for conversion from leasehold to freehold (Encl.)
As per a newsletter of a platform of mainly NGOs engaging on the slum issue (and incomprehensibly critical of Delhi Master Plan), surveys to identify residents who are not allottees are starting in Bhalaswa, purportedly in compliance of High Court’s November order. If so, permit me to point out:
1. While the November order did mention the sort of survey proposed, I wonder why the state is picking for ‘compliance’ this relatively insignificant part of the order since:
(a) on the substance of the order – stopping illegal resettlement – there is continuing non-compliance (cf, inviting NGOs for slum re-housing, acquisition notifications in Bhalaswa)
(b) on the most significant aspect of the order – an alternative for low-income housing not connected to squatting – also there has been no compliance.
(c) GoI has filed an SLP against the November order that, I believe, is still sub-judice.
2. Since Election Commission has directed no evictions till elections, a peculiar situation could arise. Those neither settled nor re-settled will be protected against evictions, as will those illegally resettled. Those who sold their illegally allotted plots will presumably also be safe. And those who paid market rates for the only ‘formal’ low-income housing available instead of opting to ‘squat’ will be punished. (This anomaly is over and above the unequal protection of right to vote already come about on account of recent evictions, including without resettlement after interim orders in GoI’s SLP and with resettlement for some in a case where issue of ‘eligibility’ is still sub-judice).
3. Furthermore, a freehold ‘policy’ is simultaneously being implemented with zest. It has been stated that this, seemingly joint policy of GoI and GoNCTD, is to benefit power-of-attorney flat-buyers. Since DDA and cooperative flats also have access to public land at reasonable, rather than market, rates I am unable to understand how p-o-a flat-buyers are worthy of policy change while those who similarly purchased resettlement plots deserve to be hunted and hounded.
4. Vide the enclosed letter I had objected to the freehold policy as it amounts to a Plan modification requiring Public Notice that has not been issued. On p.2, under ‘residential use’, I had said:
“A glaring inequity dimension also arises from Court directions to cancel allotments to the poor if they have sold resettlement plots, on which aspect GoI’s SLP makes no reference based on any substantive point of law even as the Plan and land policy provide one”.
I believe that in PIL the state should represent also the interests of parties not represented – as in this case against slums by factory owners now subject of what appears to be a joint SLP (as MCD Commissioner and CPS to CM have spoken to me of interim orders in first person). I also believe the state should place all relevant points of law before the court, certainly on request.
I request again GoI place in Court relevant aspects of Master Plan and land policy, exclusive statutory regime for use and disposal of public land in the city. In November, High Court most appropriately quashed the illegal slum policy that was serving no purpose other than spawning a corruption racket lately exposed. CBI and Anti-Corruption Branch have done their job. The SLP is an opportunity to restore citizens’ entitlements and put Delhi back on course to equitable sustainable development. It would be a pity to restore, instead, a defunct policy. It would also be a pity for citizens’ entitlements to be taken up not by the state in our Apex Court but by NGOs in international fora (the newsletter says the NGO platform is debating about raising the issue of the surveys in Habitat International Coalition).
And I request that public cost surveys with no basis in anything be stopped, especially since the license regime, cut-off dates, etc, for eligibility decisions had basis only in an illegal policy and remain challenged (within the ambit of the Plan and land policy) in High Court matters filed by slum residents.
Gita Dewan Verma
PS to CM (with request to stop / reconsider surveys if ordered by GoNCTD)
Commissioner, MCD (with request to stop / reconsider surveys if ordered by MCD)
- 1. Govt approves DDA alterations
Times of India, 11.07.2003
NEW DELHI: The proposed procedure drawn up by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to facilitate regularisation of additions and alterations in DDA flats, was approved by the ministry of Urban Development on Thursday. According to the proposal, permission for constructional changes made in DDA areas will be granted by the DDA, while that for other areas will be granted by the MCD.
An architect registered with the Council of Architecture, under the Architects Act, 1972, will have the authority to certify plans regarding the original construction as well as alterations. Once the certificate by the architect is obtained, and a fee submitted to DDA/ MCD, these will be taken on record and treated as permitted. In cases where all members of a vertical block building want to move around kitchens, water closets or cover terraces, they have to apply jointly to DDA/MCD. In case one of the members of the vertical block does not want to alter his flat, other members will have to get a No Objection certificate from him.
For additional floor area, a fee of Rs 200 will be charged for processing the plans irrespective of the covered area involved. An additional Rs 450 per square metre will be charged for additional covered area to be constructed
- 2. DDA: Don’t Demolish Alterations
Express Newsline, 11.07.2003
Express News Service, New Delhi, July 10: Just before Union Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar heads for Karnataka as the new BJP state chief, he has made poll-bound Madan Lal Khurana grin from ear to ear. His proposal to regularise 26 alterations/additions in DDA flats was finally passed by his ministry yesterday. This is also valid for changes that the flat-owners may now make. Housing commissioner D B Gupta said the ministry notified the policy yesterday and DDA would be ready to implement it from next week. The proposal dates back to 1998 when DDA had come out with a list of 26 condonable changes. But the then Union Urban Development Minister Jagmohan played the spoilsport by removing seven from the list in April 2001 after the Gujarat earthquake, on the ground that Delhi falls in seismic Zone 4 and was highly susceptible to earthquakes.
It was in January this year that Khurana, despite stiff opposition from architects and town planners in the city, revived the inclusion of the seven condonable items as a political sop for the BJP’s largely middle-class vote-bank. DDA, in fact, gives an alibi in its note by saying that after ‘‘consultations with various RWAs and concerned local bodies’’ the DDA has concluded that items are actually ‘‘structurally safe’’. Out of the seven, fixing of doors in courtyards, converting windows into almirahs, shifting of water storage tanks and shifting of doors and windows will be automatically regularised with the payment of a fee and submission of documents.
The other three — construction of a bathroom or WC in the courtyard, covering of the terrace with light material, interchanging the position of the kitchen, bathroom and WC — have been made conditional and need special permission from the DDA.
For the previously illegal alterations to be regularised, the flat-owners will require a certificate by any architect/architectural engineer registered with the Council of Architecture, on a prescribed form. DDA officials say once this process is completed, the case will be ‘‘treated as permitted’’. For all the additional floor area, Rs 200 will be charged for processing the plans, irrespective of the covered area involved. The DDA will be charging Rs 450 per square metre for the additional covered area. For interchanging the position of the kitchen, bathroom and WC or for additional coverage in the courtyard and terraces, all owners of a vertical block of flats will jointly submit the proposal to the DDA or the MCD. If only one or two residents seek permission, they will have to obtain NoCs from the rest. All new constructions (alterations/additions) have to be submitted to DDA/MCD within three years of submission of the plans, failing which the permission will stand revoked.
- 3. source: http://mail.architexturez.net/pipermail/in-enaction/2003-January/000013.html
- 4. Centre delaying cooperative bill: CM
By Pramod Kumar; Asian Age, 13.07.2003
New Delhi, July 12: The Delhi Cooperative Societies Bill, which was aimed to ease largescale property-related disputes and check rampant mafia raj in cooperative housing societies, is yet to see the light of day as the matter is pending with the Central government.
Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit told The Asian Age on Sunday, "The BJP-led Central government is deliberately sitting over the bill. Despite repeated reminders by the Delhi government, the Centre has ignored it. We sent the bill to the Centre last year, but it raised some objections."
"If the bill is enacted, property owners will not have to face much administrative difficulties. It will drastically change the cooperative movement in Delhi. Earlier, the Delhi government was informed that the bill was pending with the Union law ministry. But later, it was informed that the bill is pending with the finance ministry. Now, it is said that the bill is with the Union home ministry," said Ms Dikshit.
The Congress-led Delhi government is preparing to present the bill with certain amendments in the coming Delhi Assembly session. However, a major bottleneck in bringing the bill is that it needs the Centre’s approval. If the bill is enacted, the occupancy right of persons who are power of attorney holders will be regularised and they can automatically be considered as members of their group housing societies. This will help thousand of property owners in the city.
A senior official of the revenue department of the Delhi government said, "The existing legislation regarding group housing societies is a Central Act and change in the act requires the Centre’s permission. The Delhi government has already sent a draft bill to the Centre for approval."
In the proposed bill, efforts have been made to ensure democratic management, transparency and accountability in the affairs of the cooperative societies by curtailing red tapism in the administration, said the official.
Issues relating to the management of the housing societies, estate, rights and privileges of members, creation, maintenance and utilisation of building and replacement fund, recovery of dues and fore — closures, maintenance of essential services, special provision for regularisation of occupancy rights such persons, who have acquired such a right through the instrument of power of attorney or agreement for sale, execution of housing project and matters relating to house building cooperative societies, are other highlights of the bill.
- 5. Cooperative Bill gets nod, red-tape on societies gone
By Pramod Kumar; Asian Age, 19.07.2003
New Delhi, July 18: The Centre has finally given its nod to the long-pending Delhi Cooperative Societies Bill.
The new bill will help thousands of Delhiites who are living in group housing societies by opening a way for the resolution of numerous property-related disputes and checking "mafia raj" in the industry.
The bill will be brought before the Delhi Cabinet shortly and the Delhi government is likely to summon a special session of the Assembly to pass the bill. The Delhi government had been trying hard for quite sometime to get the bill approved by the Centre.
Once the bill becomes a law, the property owners in group housing societies will not have to face much administrative difficulties as the power of the registrar has been curtailed considerably. It will bring a drastic change in the cooperative movement in Delhi.
The bill will also regularise the occupancy rights of persons with power of attorney, who can now automatically be considered as members of the group housing societies.
"The bill will bring the power of attorney holders into the mainstream by enrolling them as new members in place of the original members, who have transferred their property. This special provision in the new bill will be a great relief to many. The entire exercise will not be costly at all. Property owners will have to pay a negligible amount for the same," said a high-ranking official of the revenue department of the Delhi government.
He further said, "The bill will also ensure democratic management, transparency and accountability in the affairs of the cooperative societies by curtailing red-tapism in the administration so as to make the cooperative movement a vibrant instrument of socio-economic development in Delhi."
Now, elections to the societies are to be held by the managing committees within a specified time before the expiry of its five-year term, failing which the committee will cease to function. For offences and penalties, a fine of Rs 50,000 and imprisonment for a maximum period of seven years, or both, has been provided in the new bill.
Issues relating to the management of the housing societies, estate, rights and privileges of members, creation, maintenance and utilisation of building and replacement fund, recovery of dues and foreclosures, maintenance of essential services, special provision for the regularisation of occupancy rights of such persons who have acquired such a right through the instrument of power of attorney or agreement for sale, execution of housing project and matters relating to house-building cooperative societies are other highlights of the bill.
In the new bill, the power of the registrar has been curtailed significantly. The registrar will have much say only in those societies which have 51 per cent government equity.
- 6. source: http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=57963
- 7. source: http://skel.architexturez.net/mpisg/documents/030705.htm
- 8. Cabinet okays cut in stamp duty
By Our Staff Reporter; The Hindu, 22.07.2003
NEW DELHI JULY 21. The Delhi Cabinet today approved the proposal of the Finance Department to reduce the stamp duty from 13 to 8 per cent in case of 12 different instruments relating to transfer of properties. The reduced stamp duty would be applicable now on certificate of sale, instruments of conveyance, further charge on mortgage of property, gift, exchange, lease, mortgage, power of attorney with consideration, transfer, transfer of lease and trust.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by the Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, this evening. The decision has been forwarded to the Lieutenant-Governor for formal issuance of a notification amending Article 9 of the Indian Stamp Duty Act. The new notification will supersede the May 19 notification that had reduced the duty in respect of instruments relating to transaction of immovable property qualifying as conveyance on sale or agreement to sell only.
It is estimated that the proposal to reduce the stamp duty would result in a net loss of Rs. 110 crores to the Delhi Government coffers. At the same time, it was felt that reduction in stamp duty was not only part of the urban reforms programme being undertaken by the Delhi Government but also promote healthy transactions with regard to the 12 instruments which in turn would lead to improved revenue collections. Delhi having the highest stamp duty of 13 per cent in the region had led to spurt in benami transactions and under-valuing of property as people had to shell out huge sums as stamp duty.
In fact, the Union Government in its urban reforms scheme has asked all States to rationalise stamp duty in phases to bring down the rates to not more than 5 per cent by the end of the 10th Five Year Plan. The scheme provides for incentives to States that implement the urban reform package. The Cabinet felt that bringing down the stamp duty rate would lead to better compliance due to reduction of stamp duty and that may eventually make up some of the lost revenue. It was contemplated that the remaining investments may be covered in due course after gaining the experience of reduction on stamp duty on instruments of sale and agreement to sell.
The Law Department had opined that any change in the stamp duty would require the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor for formally issuing a notification under Section 9 of the Stamp Duty Act. Simultaneously, the process for amending Schedule-IA may also be started and the same should be sent to the Central Government as it would require prior approval of the Union Government.
The Cabinet also approved the proposal of the Development Department for a new promotional structure for the veterinary doctors in order to put an end to the stagnation in their cadre. A new scheme has been approved which would lead to wider promotional avenues and address the long pending demand of this section.
- 9. Move to cut stamp duty hailed
By Our Staff Reporter; The Hindu, 23.07.2003
NEW DELHI JULY 22. The Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, Jagdish Mukhi, today welcomed the decision of the Delhi Government to reduce the stamp duty on 12 instruments of conveyance but warned that the rates would only become effective after an amendment is carried out to the Stamp Duty Act by the Central Government.
In statement here, Mr. Mukhi said it was unfortunate that even after he had raised the matter of high stamp duty in Delhi as compared to other States it took the Delhi Government one and half years to bring in this amendment and reduce the rates. But unfortunately, the attempt by the Delhi Government to amend Section 9 of the Stamp Duty Act would not help reduce the rates as an Central amendment needs to be carried out through a proper legislation to Schedule 1A of the Act in order to percolate the benefits of the new rates to the lower level. Although, the Delhi Government, he said, had admitted its mistake in first hiking the duty and then trying to reduce it under pressure from various quarters.
- 10. DDA to look into pricing of flats
Rajesh Kumar/ New Delhi; Daily Pioneer, 22.07.2003
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is reviewing its cost policy for housing. The decision was taken following the realisation that their flats were priced much higher than the market rates. DDA had revamped its costing policy last year but that also failed to attract buyers to its various projects in Sarita Vihar and Dwarka.
A high level committee constituted in this regard, will submit its report to Lieutenant Governor Vijai Kapoor within two weeks.
According to a DDA official, the cost policy has drawn flak in the recent past because of the incompetitive prices of its flats as compared to those of private builders and group housing societies.
The three bed room flats in Dwarka are available at Rs 14-16 lakhs. While, the group housing societies are offering it at Rs 12-14 lakhs with additional facilities including security, power back up and more covered areas.
Taking a strong exception of the DDA cost policy for housing, the Lieutant Governor Vijai Kapoor has constituted a high level committee to review the policy.
The committee will take into account the market prices of its various projects and the cost policies of authorities in other countries.
DDA flats have been facing stiff competition from private builders and group housing societies for the last several years.
Most of the DDA flats have no takers because of the high prices, and the housing schemes launched by DDA in Dwarka, Sarita Vihar and Rohini have failed to attract the people because of poor sanitation facilities and higher prices.
A large number of DDA flats are being surrendered because of high prices, which have been going up by 10 per cent after every six months despite the slump in real estate markets in the Capital.
Most of the DDA flats in Dwarka and Sarita Vihar are vacant or are being surrendered .
Most of the DDA flat owners have realised that the flats offered by the group housing societies cost the same and offer better facilities including power back up and security as compared to DDA flats.
- 11. The bad landlord: Delhi Destruction Authority
Times of India, 28.07.2003.
NEW DELHI: There is trouble brewing at home for Delhi’s biggest landlord. For the first time since it started building flats in 1968-69, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), is faced with the surrender of 825 flats in prime locations like Vasant Kunj and Dwarka.
DDA’s history of providing housing for the city is a fairly recent one. When the DDA found that the plots they had sold to developers were replete with shoddy houses and high prices, they decided to step in. Till date, DDA has allotted under 3,15,000 flats under 25 schemes, 60 per cent of which are for the lower income groups.
Traditionally, a DDA flat was considered in the same league as an IIT degree or owning the cavernous ambassador car. A symbol of security, of having arrived in the world. Not so anymore, with flexible housing and construction loans as well as more flexible rules on buying and selling of land. DDA is now finding out that it is no longer the king of the real estate heap.
Why are DDA flats being surrendered: Opinion is divided on this. Many say that in the era of the free market, an agency which enjoyed a near monopoly in housing was bound to feel the pinch. Officials in DDA itself admit to it. ‘‘The free market, easy availability of loans both for construction and for buying make it easier for both developers and buyers to operate,’’ said an official in the housing department of the DDA. This proliferation of builders has meant that DDA gets to face severe competition as compared to its near monopoly of the housing sector in the past. However, this is not the only reason. According to D B Gupta, commissioner housing in DDA, the nature of the real estate business in India is such.
‘‘In recent times, the variety of options has increased for buyers, also private real estate brokers accept only 40 to 50 per cent of the cost of the flat in white money, the rest is black,’’ he says. This results in lower stamp duty and registration money. ‘‘In a DDA flat, the organisation expects the entire amount to be paid in white money, by cheque. People who are only looking at houses as investment do not find a good place to park their money,’’ he said. ‘‘If one looks at the comparitive prices of houses in Dwaraka, then a three bedroom DDA flat there, would cost around Rs 12 lakhs with registration accounted for and no extra money charged for conversion,’’ he said.
He added that a private builders flat in the same area would cost around Rs 16 lakh, plus stamp duty, and conversion charges. Another factor is the nature of allotting the flats. In DDA, flats are allotted according to a computerised draw of lots, the flat you get, whether a ground, first, or second floor all depend on chance. ‘‘Many surrender flats because they don’t get the floor they want,’’ said Gupta. Construction problems: Houses are planned in the planning department and executed in housing, and never the twain shall meet. While the world has moved on to penthouse suites and marble flooring, the three storey DDA building stands on the same dark mosaic of four decades back. ‘‘We are looking at upgrading materials, especially flooring,’’ says an official. A result of the soul searching on at the Authority.
Cracked walls and seepage problems, are just a few of the negatives listed against DDA flats. ‘‘I don’t agree that DDA houses are bad in quality, although we are seriously considering upgrading things like marble flooring, better tiles in bathrooms etc,’’ said Gupta. New Plans: Apart from marble flooring and such like, the department has set up a committee to examine the costing process. To change it from standard costing to one reflective of market prices. Another change on the anvil : to keep waiting lists for flats.
‘‘We received 11,000 applications for the 765 flats on offer in Vasant Kunj, and since we kept no waiting list, people who were interested could not take advantage of cancellations,’’ said Gupta. Hence,the propsal is to keep a waiting list for three months, roughly 50 per cent of the available flats. For those who have invested in DDA flats and feel that the money has gone down the drain, take heart, it may not be the status symbol of the past but it can still be home.
- 12. source: http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=58730
- 13. source: http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=58635
- 14. OPEN LETTER TO THE HON’BLE PRESIDENT OF INDIA
- 15. source: http://www.ddadelhi.com/Images/020803-SOLICIATION%20OF%20OFFER%20FORMS.jpg
- 16. DDA forms for changes in flats from Monday
By Nidhi Sharma; Asian Age, 03.08.2003
New Delhi, Aug. 2: The Delhi Development Authority will begin the process of permitting additions and alterations in DDA flats, announced in January by the Union urban development ministry, from Monday.
The application forms for declaring and taking permission to go ahead with these alterations and additions will be available from Monday.
Two special counsellors have been assigned the work of guiding flat owners through the application process. They can collect the forms from DDA offices or can contact DDA counsellors at Vikas Sadan for more information. A senior DDA official said, "People have already started pouring in to get additions and alterations to the original structure formally declared and made legal. Now the forms are ready and will be available from Monday."
The procedure will include certifications of plans for their correctness by an architect registered with the Council of Architecture under Architects Act 1972. The plans with all documents certified by the architect and structural engineer are submitted to the DDA or the MCD. These will be taken on record and treated as permitted. A fee will be accepted along with the required documents.
On January 20, former Union urban development minister Ananth Kumar had announced seven more additions and alterations which would be permitted in DDA flats. Now the number of additions and alterations allowed after the 1999 and the recent declaration is 26.
The additions and alterations will be classified under three categories — condonable additions, additions allowed with permission and alterations that provide additional coverage permitted with prior permission.
The first category includes additions and alterations that do not require structural changes and can be carried out without any prior intimation or permission of the DDA and the MCD. This includes alterations like covering the existing barsati into a room. The second category includes major alterations which may require structural changes, changes in the service lines and additional coverage. The last category is the one where it is mandatory to take permission.
- 17. source: http://www.ddadelhi.com/docs/240703-ADDITION-ALTERATION%20DDA%20FLATS.doc
- 18. Hold-up Delhi: Freehold everywhere
Express Newsline, 20.05.2003
The Union Cabinet today approved the Urban Development Ministry’s proposal to permit conversion of leasehold land to freehold for residential, industrial, commercial and mixed land properties. ... Leasehold property can be made freehold by paying conversion charges ‘‘with reference to land rates prevailing on the date of application’’. ...The decision was a ‘‘citizen friendly move’’ which will remove ‘‘red tape, discretion of officials and corruption,’’ said Union Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar.
It will benefit over 13,000 industrial and 10,000 commercial plot owners and increase revenue collection by at least Rs 500 crore, he said. Kumar said freehold means that owners will now have ‘‘absolute ownership of their properties’’ and won’t require permission from the DDA and L&DO to sell their land. ‘‘This however doesn’t mean land use can be altered,’’ he said.
‘‘It is a misconception that just because a property becomes freehold, one can construct anything one wants or use the land in any way. Masterplan norms and building bye-laws remain sacrosanct and will be implemented,’’ he said.
Town planners and architects, however, said the conversion will encourage violation of Masterplan. Architect Sudhir Vohra said,‘‘The government has been unable to control the illegal use of land in places like Okhla and Mohan Cooperative.Freehold means that the government will have a tougher time in implementing land use rules.
It will be unable to cancel a lease for misuse.’’ Banks will be able to take over mortgaged properties from defaulters. ‘‘So, industrialists and owners of commercial plots may not convert fearing a takeover by banks.
The ministry may not make as much revenue as it expects,’’ said Vohra.
- 19. Freehold gift for leaseholders
Times of India, 20.05.2003
To provide incentive to leaseholders, the remission of conversion fees in case of lessees has been increased from 25 per cent to 40 per cent. However, properties involving encroachment on public land will not be allowed the facility of conversion.
Conversion will also be permitted in case of general power of attorney (GPA) holders. In their case, however, a surcharge at 33.33 per cent of conversion fee will be levied. The minister said all properties had been graded and evaluation was predetermined by the land and development office (L&D) and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in respect of the area.
The public will be kept informed through brochures published by the agencies concerned. ...Ananth Kumar said the government’s move was aimed at removing official discretion and any evasion because of red tape.
Public harassment would also be curbed. The Delhi government has flayed the Centre’s move calling it ‘a political stunt’. State urban development minister A K Walia said: ‘‘This is a politically motivated step. If the Centre is so concerned about people’s welfare, why didn’t they allow such conversion three years back?’’
- 20. Conversion scheme a shot in the arm for BJP
The Hindu, 21.05.2003
"It is being termed as a whiff of fresh air in the vastly disillusioned BJP camp. The nod by the Union Cabinet for the proposal to extend the leasehold-to-freehold conversion scheme for commercial, industrial and mixed land use properties in the Capital could well signal the beginning of more such sops in a crucial election year.
In fact, the latest announcement could well be termed as a partial victory for the Delhi BJP president, Madan Lal Khurana, who has been lobbying hard with the Central leadership for taking certain "people-friendly'' decisions in order to face the electorate well before the elections. ...the latest announcement should gladden Mr. Khurana who has been quite agitated so far at the slow pace of implementation of his demands by the Union Urban Development Ministry.
Many in the BJP said this was only the tip of the iceberg and there were much more comprehensive things to come including the regularisation of unauthorised colonies and regularisation of industrial units in residential areas. Although, power and water shortage would be the crux of our campaign, but once these decisions start flowing, a proper atmosphere would be created pitting the BJP at par with the Congress."
- 21. Walia slams Centre on freehold plan
Daily Pioneer, 21.05.2003
"Delhi Urban Development Minister Dr A K Walia on Tuesday criticised the Union Cabinet's decision to approved the Urban and Development Ministry's proposal for the extension of the scheme of conversion from leasehold to freehold in respect of industrial, commercial and mixed land use properties.
Terming it "election stunts" of the BJP, he said the decision was eyeing the forthcoming elections. "The decision was taken because of the forthcoming elections of the Delhi Assembly. ...But the BJP will not be benefited from the decision, as they keep making announcements which are subsequently challenged in courts," Dr Walia further said. ...He said the Delhi Government should be given free hand to solve the problems of the Capital."
- 22. source: http://skel.architexturez.net/mpisg/documents/030705.htm Op.cit.