Offer-cum-demand for initiative against government encroachment on public land equaling CVC initiative against encroachment on "government land", reported in a newspaper, in letter to CVC with copies to other Commissions, CBI and Parliamentary Committee in continuation of previous letters
Chief Vigilance Commissioner
Sub: ‘Encroachments’ – by citizens on ‘government land’ and by government on public land
Ref: Camera to watch public land as CVC steps in, Ritu Sarin, Express Newsline, 01.07.04
As per news under reference, on your intervention, government has ordered monthly videography of large tracts of land to prevent encroachment. I seek equal intervention apropos encroachment by government on public land especially in view of statutory monitoring provisions under DD Act, 1957
Increasingly, government ‘schemes’, especially on land cleared of so-called ‘encroachment’ (slums, hawkers, etc, more accurately described as backlog on mandatory development targets) amount to encroachment on public land for being illegal in terms of development law, which contemplates for public land not government ownership but responsibility for development strictly according to Plan.
Apropos large tract encroachment by government I request you to peruse the enclosed note and let me know which, if any, cases mentioned in it would the Commission be willing to investigate. For nearly all of these (and others) I have documentation, including for most photographs / video, and in some government’s diversionary and dilatory ‘replies’ and in a few orders of Court / NHRC.
Apropos small tract encroachments I request response to complaints of 2003-2004 as follow-up to complaints in 2001-2002 (inclusive of screening before the full Commission of a film – update video / photo documentation on which I have) in context of the note sent to you with copy of letter of 23.06.04 to DDA Commissioner (Planning) about encroachment of space meant for informal sector.
These connect in many ways. For instance, extra-legal investment jeopardizing legitimate hawker space (driving hawkers to ‘encroach’) mentioned in my letter of 19.02.04 was drawn from proceeds from auction of malls, currently using as USP an unintended biodiversity-park encroaching planned housing space and ‘requiring’ evictions mentioned, with photographs, in the enclosed note.
I write these letters because I was trained at public cost to see larger patterns that small pieces fit and consider it my right and responsibility to draw attention to emergent crises in my area of expertise. Distortion of equity perspectives to point of obfuscating victim and culprit and ‘pattern in the way our courts and commissions are being drawn into’ this (mentioned in letter of 19.02.04, enclosing letter to EC copy for information of which to NHRC in continuation of previous letters has returned me an order saying, ‘The complaint does not require intervention of the Commission. File’), I consider crisis.
If I do not hear from the Commission about an official system for tracking government encroachment on public land, I will assume it has not set up one and I will set up whatever I can myself and report to you on monthly basis. I hope, however, that I will hear from you.
Gita Dewan Verma / Planner
- Note ‘NCMP … Delhi Master Plan provisions for housing the poor, ridge and riverbed’
- Letter of 19.02.04 referred, with letter of same date to EC
- Chairperson, NHRC (with – if order of 28/04/2004 in 200/30/2004-2005/OC on letter of 19.02.04 does not apply to all previous letters, including one of 20.12.03 about demolitions in inclement weather for dubious purpose and despite court order of 12.11.03 connecting slum problem to EWS housing failure – request for intervention in case of Lalkhet, mentioned in the enclosed note)
- Chief Election Commissioner (with request for access to information about EC clearances for slum evictions in last two elections and (especially) Pushta polling data, for impact research)
- Adviser (HUD), Planning Commission (with request to table in slum discourse the Commission’s report of 2002 on Delhi Slums (especially pp.28-30, 37-39, 75-76) and to ensure budget provision for social housing is not diverted to ‘alternatives’ inferior to statutory slum solutions)
- CBI (for information, w.r.t. ‘DDA scam’, obviously continuing)
- Dy Secy Lok Sabha Secretariat (with request to add enclosed note to submission to Standing Parliamentary Committee examining functioning of DDA and to kindly arrange urgent hearing)