In protest of imminent willful dispossession for willful development, sent to President, Prime Minister, NAC Chairperson, Urban Development Minister, Left party officies, DDA VC, Police Commissioner, etc


Sub: Imminent demolition in Lal Khet on 29.07.04 / NCMP subversion

Madam / Sir,

Since yesterday Lal Khet citizens have been verbally informed of demolition on 29.07.04 by DDA / police staff.

The six old settlements (about thousand families) are getting in the way of unplanned scheme for Biodiversity Park and Malls, legality of which is challenged in PIL pending in High Court since 2003. A scheme involving identical illegalities (and causing demolition of identically old settlements) in green belt / ridge park site in the vicinity was stopped and ordered inquired into by High Court in 2002, which inquiry has yet to happen.

Some families in Lal Khet have been offered resettlement in Bawana (where relocates from Pushta, including children, are dying). Legality of such resettlement is challenged in High Court in petitions by slum citizens from the area in which failure to develop mandatory EWS housing stands admitted. This matter, including compliance of interim order of 2002 in it for clarification of entitlements, etc, is also pending.

One of the sites that the citizens had brought to the attention of the Court in 2002 was the EWS housing site occupied by Sahara Restaurant-cum-Bar of DDA scam fame. (Sahara survives; the petitioners’ settlements were demolished). In response to Parliamentary Standing Committee public notice of 22.06.03 inviting views on functioning of DDA, submissions were made by citizens’ groups in the area, hearing on which is also pending.

Since 31.05.04, when ‘offer-cum-demand letters’ for eviction / resettlement were distributed in Lal Khet, citizens have been seeking a meeting about lawful option for relocation consistent with Delhi Master Plan and National Common Minimum Programme. This request, made with assurance of full cooperation, has not been granted. After demolition threat of 02.07.04, citizens from 20 ‘slums’ with 5000 families had made a joint demand for EWS scheme either in 35 Ha residential land being usurped by unplanned Biodiversity Park or in illegal scheme in green belt / ridge park site. This has also not elicited any response. s.41(3) application to MoUD to examine legality and propriety of decision to demolish Lal Khet settlements in view of the above as well as complaints (with photographs) of illegal boring on Mall sites have also evoked no reponse.

We have written to DDA Vice Chairman, with copy to Police Commissioner and Lieutenant Governor to ask that demolition be deferred till discussion and that illegal borings be immediately sealed. While we hope our request will be granted, we have begun to peacefully protest the planned demolition – not only in our continuing protest against willful dispossession for willful schemes but also for breach of UPA’s solemn pledge to provide corruption-free, accountable and transparent government and responsible and responsive administration.

Indeed, all that we have to show for our efforts to engage in support of NCMP since its adoption two months ago is ‘evidence’ of it having been comprehensively subverted in the capital, which we deeply regret.

Gita Dewan Verma / MPISG Planner