Some industrial areas were part of recent School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) studio work, based on which some queries / suggestions had been earlier made to DDA / Delhi Government after the Supreme Court order of 07.05.04. On the evening of 14.09.04 students and a faculty member called a meeting to discuss Delhi Government’s decision of 11.09.04 to file a review petition.

(Participant's diary accout, pending organisers' posting of proceedings)

The group in SPA (over a dozen students and two faculty persons) is interested in the judgment since it is based on and upholds Master Plan provisions and processes and had invited those who have expressed support for a view of the judgment as providing opportunity for enforcing the statutory DMP2001 solution. Representatives from industries associations / federations (about 10, representing all major groups currently active, except one that could not attend but conveyed its views) and professionals (one planner, an engineer consultant to industries and DSF could not attend).

The general view was that, with no substantive progress made towards any solution in four months since the judgment, the decision to approach the court is a welcome initiative. But the content of the proposed review petition is worrying, being identical to what was filed in 1999 and based on ideas for DMP2021 rather than on statutory DMP2001 entitlements. The Government’s release also makes irrelevant references to city environment (though the issue is only local incompatibility) and lack of cooperation (though industries have hardly any legal options on offer). However, consensus on this content is growing – with industries having called their strike off immediately after the cabinet decision and Left leaders having met PM the following day to endorse it, impression that PM will be holding a meeting with CM and UDM, etc – in, perhaps, too hasty and unconsidered manner, panic reaction against imminent closure.

It was agreed that efforts need to be made to seek clarification and discussion on the content of the review petition, especially in terms of focus on statutory DMP2001 options. The industries representatives felt this would be difficult since the regularization promise had become a long-standing demand of industry, but they would take up the issue with various groups and also with political parties they were engaging with. The group from SPA was also unsure about broader professional support given the abysmal state of affairs in so-called civil society engagements, but they would make efforts. A media conference by professionals, consulting lawyers, preparing simple write-ups for communication, letters seeking clarifications, etc, were suggested as some immediate possibilities. All agreed that the judgment provided opportunity to progress towards durable lawful solutions that its review should not curtail, certainly not by consensus, and everyone would think about how to proceed on this premise in coming days and stay in constant touch.

Gita Dewan Verma | Planner | 14.09.04 (Diary account)