What Delhi Government's emergency cabinet meeting on 11.09.04 about industries has reportedly decided should make all sit up and fret about the cabinet now.

The cabinet has decided Delhi Government will approach Supreme Court to seek 18 months for units that have not shifted to relocation plots (less than 20000 plots have been developed and CM has said 8000 have been allotted and 1100 are occupied (ToI)). It will seek 3-4 months for “scientific survey”, already commissioned according to HT, for regularization of 24 areas (CM seems to think the court’s rejection of her idea for these 15000 units arises from academic discontent about survey rigour, whereas the option is not really open in law, besides which nothing stopped “scientific survey” in 3-4 months since 07.05.04). It will seek modification of the order in respect of household industries and, as per CM, “petition Union government to expand the list" (AA) (to benefit 6000 units, though the order already has direction #2 for this and in compliance MoUD issued necessary Public Notice on 21.06.04). Other units “would be asked to immediately apply to the industry department for land” (AA) (though industries department had stopped even its inadequate schemes in view of government’s regularization promises and court’s closure directions and government also forgot to offer incentives in six weeks from 07.05.04 as per direction #4).

Government is “not certain whether its plea would be accepted” (AA). The order, however, suggests it nearly certainly will not be: “On 10th December, 1999, the State Government came up with an application (IA No.1206), inter alia, seeking modification of the order dated 8th September, 1999 and for extension of time upto March 2004… stated that out of 52,000 applications received under the relocation scheme in December, 1996, approximately 23,000 have been found to be eligible. The prayer in the application also is that the industrial units functioning in residential areas where concentration of industry is 70%, should be continued to operate from their existing location. … According to the Government, about 15,000 industrial units would fall in this category and another approximately 6,000 industrial units may fall in the category of household industries ( A category). …the immediate question would be as to what steps were taken by it in respect of remaining illegal and unauthorized industrial units, which number over 50,000. The Government has no answer, let alone a satisfactory answer even despite lapse of nearly five years.” The court is most unlikely to suddenly find merit in identical plea after lapse of four more months.

The cabinet decision, at best, has nothing to do with solutions. At worst, it seems poised to attempt dilution of a Supreme Court judgment that upholds DMP, contempt of which CM has repeatedly demonstrated, her oath twice taken notwithstanding. She is now quoted lamenting being caught in some “cusp” between DMP2001 and DMP2021, even as the law is clear about there being no “cusp” and only one DMP that can be progressively revised by due process but can neither be substituted nor abandoned as that would make years of compulsory land acquisition in its name malafide. She continues to invoke DMP-2021 “guidelines” even as the court order says, “under the garb of issuing guidelines for the Master Plan for Delhi - 2021, action against violators of law has come to a standstill for an indefinite period”. Indeed her constant plea to “the Centre to finalise” DMP2021 (while her government forgot to even represent itself on the Authority of DDA and has also taken no serious issue on the DDA scam exposed by CBI in 2003 having been all but buried) is really a plea to legitimize subversion of several statutory solutions to make way for her numerous ideas and projects that are illegal in terms of DMP. It is their need-for-land that necessitates her constant refrain about shortage-of-land for citizens and her stout denial of their statutory land allocations. The same pattern marks her ideas for slums, schools, bovines, greens, industries – for all of whom she claims to be constantly seeking but never actually finding any solutions. Indeed, the only “solution” that her government has to offer to citizens is the bonhomie of selective bhagidari to keep them amused. (The Hindu has a report on views of DSIDC Chairman – party-cake made up of warning of plot cancellations, praise for CM leadership of biggest relocation exercise, urging CM to extend metro to Bawana, etc, and assurance that government is “committed to a harmonious relationship between the employee and the employer” with suggestion, for this, that “both should join hands to celebrate common festivals”).

CM, while still insisting her government is “committed to protecting the industries”, has clarified it is committed to the court’s directions for their closure unless the court suddenly accepts contentions it has already comprehensively rejected. The drive to disconnect water and power, in which 40 units have already been affected, continues (even as direction #5 leaves scope for it to be postponed). And “slandering” of industries also continues. Even as the order is NOT for polluting units, news reports carry images with chimney smoke, reportage makes references to pollution and CM has stated, "we will see to it that they do not pollute" (AA). Even as industries have made it amply clear they are protesting government’s incompetence, media has been suggesting they are protesting the court order. Much is also suddenly being made of sale of some relocation plots (of just 8000 allotted) and, even as government has yet to clarify how its relocation scheme is legal in terms of DMP and the judgment says “An illegality would not become a legality on inaction or connivance of the Government authorities”, CM has also said allotments will be cancelled. It may be recalled that by identical tactics to suggest aberrations are norm, etc, in November 2002 court orders were procured for canceling allotments in slum resettlement. Since then allotment-cancellation-re-allotment is being used to “stretch” 50000 illegal sub-standard slum resettlement plots to become substitute for statutory DMP solution for 4 lakh. Government seems poised to similarly substitute the statutory DMP solution of 2000-3000 Ha of well dispersed space for 1 lakh industrial units with about 20000 plots in sub-standard relocation schemes.

I think Delhi Government should not be approaching the court for modification of a DMP based order – since it has forgotten to represent itself on the authority of DDA for nearly a year. In particular, it should not be approaching the court about household industries (subject of s.11A Public Notice process underway) or “scientific survey” (in view of statutory survey and monitoring requirements of ongoing DMP revision) and even with its ideas for regularization and relocation (since it has not provided clarifications about legality of these).

Industries, I believe, would do well to distance themselves from Ma Dikshit’s demands, made on behalf of industries but headed to benefit those who benefit from their closure and from the land spared by it. They would do well to insist on a clear solution (for all and not just a few industries) that is equal to or better than that offered to them by DMP (DMP2001, which is law and the basis of the court’s order, unlike so-called DMP2021 that is a bunch of ideas of dubious origin unlikely to survive any lawful Public Notice process) and also to object, if not to stout denial of statutory solutions by alternative-pushers of by now proven incapability, at least to the slander that they are freely dishing out.

And all can fret about a cabinet that takes such inertial photo-copy decisions – in emergency meetings, without protest.

Gita Dewan Verma | Planner | 12.09.04

  • News reports of 12.09.041234
  • 1. Delhi at court’s mercy on industries
    Asian Age: By Our Correspondent, New Delhi, Sept. 11

    The Delhi government on Saturday decided to approach the Supreme Court to seek a "categorical" relaxation in the ongoing industrial relocation. While the government itself is not certain whether its plea would be accepted, the fate of lakhs of people associated with the non-conforming industries now hangs in uncertainty. However, till the court rules on the petition, the drive of disconnecting water and power to the "F" category industries would continue. After an emergency Cabinet meeting on Saturday, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said: "Within 4-6 days, we will approach the honourable Supreme Court to grant us 18 months’ time for shifting the industrial units, which had already taken possession of land but had not started functioning there. And in the interim period, these units will be spared from being shut down. We expect the court to understand the practicalities even as we stand committed to honouring its orders." A monitoring committee headed by Delhi chief secretary S. Regunathan and comprising representatives from the DDA and the Delhi police will subsequently effect the relocation and apprise the agencies involved, like the court and the Union urban development ministry, of the position, she said. "We are committed to protecting the industries, but at the same time we will see to it that they do not pollute," she added. The government will also plead with the court to modify its order on the areas having more than 70 per cent industrial concentration and the household industries as the Delhi government has already moved the Union urban development ministry to include these sectors in the Delhi Master Plan. "We would urge the apex court to give us three to four months time for another survey as the previous survey had been rejected by the court," Ms Dikshit said. The Delhi government will also petition the Union government to expand the list of permissible household industries in category "A," she added. Curiously, while the fate of the industries now depends on the notification of the Delhi Master Plan-2021, the Delhi government has no inkling as to when would it be completed. "We have pleaded with the Centre to finalise the Master Plan as quickly as possible since the delay has landed Delhi in a sort of an administrative cusp. The Centre can only say by when would it be complete," the chief minister said. With respect to other industrial units, Ms Dikshit said they would be asked to immediately apply to the industry department for land and the government would plead to the court for more time to shift them to the new area to be developed in a time-bound manner. However, till such time the units would have to abide by the directions of the court and the closure drive would continue in the phased manner as directed by the court. Till Saturday, power and water had been disconnected in 40 "F" category units, she added. This category of industrial units have to be closed as per the court orders on non-conforming areas by October 7.
  • 2. Govt seeks time to shift out industries
    Hindustan Times: Amitabh Shukla, New Delhi, September 12

    The Delhi Cabinet on Saturday decided to approach the Supreme Court next week seeking 18 months of time for relocating the industries which have been allotted land but are yet to shift out. The move comes after reports of industrialists taking to the streets in protest against imminent closure of their units. The government also plans to approach the Union Urban Development ministry so that the Supreme Court is apprised of the difficulties faced by the industrialists and workers. As regards the declaration of 24 residential areas which have 70 per cent industries as "industrial", the government has commissioned a scientific survey and its report would be ready in the next three months. The court had declared as unscientific the last survey done to identify industries in the residential areas and rejected the government plea. The Delhi government will also plead for more time so that the Master Plan 2021 is notified. It has also requested the Union Urban Development Ministry that these 24 areas be declared as "Industrial" in the Master Plan. CM Sheila Dikshit later said a decision has been taken to form a monitoring committee with the chief secretary as chairman and the police commissioner, commissioner of MCD, vice chairman of DDA and joint secretary in the Union UD ministry to monitor the situation and compliance of the court order of closing the “F” category industries by October 8. However, this would be done if the court does not accept the plea of Delhi government for extension of time. Dikshit also informed that power and water supply was cut off in 40 industries as per the court's order till Saturday.

  • 3. Relocation: Govt wants more time: TNN Sep 12, 2004, 04.03am IST

    NEW DELHI: Pushed into a corner by intense pressure from the industries' lobby, the government is now trying to buy some more time. It has already missed two SC deadlines on shifting polluting industries from non-conforming areas.

    On Saturday, Delhi government said that it would approach the SC seeking a review on its order to relocate all polluting industries from non-conforming areas by September 7. The government said that while it will continue to implement the SC order, it will ask the court for some more time.

    The government proposes to ask SC to give 18 months time to those industrial units that have taken possession of plots but have not yet shifted, and not close the units during the interim period. Those who have not taken possession of land will be required to do so in the next two months.

    "If these industries don't shift in time, we will cancel the allotment as there is a shortage of land. About 8,000 plots were allotted and so far only 1100 are occupied," said chief minister Sheila Dikshit. She, however, clarified that till the court took a decision in the matter, units would have to adhere to the SC order. The government has already started cutting water and power connections of the units that have not shut down voluntarily.

    http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/848014.cms (Retrieved 21st December 2012)
  • 4. Vacant industrial plots may invite action By Our Staff Reporter NEW DELHI, SEPT. 11.

    Coming close on the heels of the drive to close down polluting industries in the non-conforming areas, the Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC) today warned that it could contemplate cancellation of plots of those who have failed to start construction activity at their sites. The warning comes in the wake of complaints that financers were holding a large numbers of plots for speculation purpose.

    Stating that DSIDC was determined to carry out the entire exercise of relocation of industries in an effective manner, the DSIDC chairman, Hasan Ahmed, said it had been brought to his notice that hundreds of plots were lying vacant without any construction activity for the past few years. Financers who have bought them for speculative purpose are waiting for the right time to make money. Complaints have come from the industrial associations of Narela that nearly 800-odd such plots were under the control of speculators. "I will talk to the DSIDC managing director and seek issuance of necessary directions to set the situation right. The DSIDC is in the midst of a massive relocation exercise and such a situation was unacceptable. A timeframe should be fixed for completion of construction activity,'' he stated.

    Mr. Ahmed said DSIDC under the directions of the Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, was carrying one of the biggest relocation of industries exercise in the country and, by and large, it had been very successful in developing the industrial estates, including that at Bawana, within a short period of time. However, Mr. Ahmed said he was not exactly satisfied with the pace of infrastructure development, including roads, at the Narela Industrial Complex. The progress on construction of roads had been very slow and this needed to be speeded up in order to ensure that entrepreneurs get the best of facilities when they shift here. The Government, he said, was committed to a harmonious relationship between the employee and the employer and suggested that both should join hands to celebrate common festivals to strengthen the bonds between the two.

    Expressing satisfaction over the pace of work on the Common Effluent Treatment Plant at Narela, Mr. Ahmed said certain problems had been brought to his notice and he would meet the officials concerned to get them sorted out. On the other hand, Mr. Ahmed said work was progressing at a very good pace for construction of the low cost housing project for the labour class at Bawana. This is a unique project and probably the first of its kind in the country and would create residential facilities for lakhs of labourers who are now slowly shifting to Bawana in view of the relocation of industries. Mr. Ahmed said he would also urge the Chief Minister to explore the possibility of extending the Metro Rail service to Bawana in view of the large population likely to shift there over the next two to three years.

    http://www.hindu.com/2004/09/12/stories/2004091206190400.htm (Retrieved 21st December 2012)