Response to Public Notice
24th September, 2002
DDA, Vikas Sadan ‘B’ Block
INA New Delhi- 110023
Sub: OBJECTION OF CITIZENS’ GROUPS IN VILLAGES in response to DDA’s Public Notice (no number, no date) in Sunday Hindustan Times, September 15, 2002
1. On behalf of village residents, especially in Mahipalpur, I would like to place on record our objection to DDA’s scheme for which a Public Notice has been issued now, though construction has been going on since March 2002 and the scheme was displayed here in September 2001. We have already been objecting to DDA’s scheme through letters to DDA Vice-Chairman on the following grounds:
(a) We have statutory entitlements under the Master Plan’s provisions for villages, notably provision of infrastructure within the village, schemes for conservation of traditional/historic resource, integration into new development and development of facilities, housing and work places on sites in the vicinity. These have not been implemented for our benefit although our lands were acquired for development according to Master Plan. There is also no doubt that now village improvement is not possible without de-densification, which requires land in the vicinity. We see no justification for development for others (by changing the Master Plan) on land acquired from us for development according to Plan while development for us as per the Plan remains DDA’s oldest Master Plan implementation backlog in the area.
(b) DDA’s scheme (for which this notice has been issued), as displayed here in September 2001, has HIG housing (which is not needed in the area as per Master Plan norms whereby housing shortage here is only for low income housing) and an International Heritage Centre (which also has no basis in the Master Plan and could easily be elsewhere, even outside Delhi). On the other hand housing for village expansion and conservation interventions in the area’s historic villages have not been made even though they represent our entitlements since 1962. We fail to understand how ‘unplanned’ HIG housing and International Heritage Centre is justifiable as ‘planned development’, let alone worthy of a Master Plan amendment, while our 40-year old Master Plan entitlements on housing and heritage are still outstanding.
(c) DDA’s scheme will entail at least a ten per cent increase over the population of Vasant Kunj. Already the villages in the area are facing immense problems on account of DDA’s development because it has failed to implement Master Plan provisions requiring, since 1962, integration of existing settlements into new development. A telling example is of the sewage outfall from Vasant Kunj near Mahipalpur. In general, DDA’s tendency to use all planned sites for up-market uses has led to a situation where shops, low-income housing, private schools, etc, have come up in the villages to meet local needs. This has made for a lot of congestion. Also, DDA has been building here without regard to the fact that it is not managing to supply enough water. Its development is, therefore, depleting our ground water sources to a point that we are facing an acute crisis. Its scheme under construction has already entailed the digging of illegal bore-wells to our disadvantage. Since DDA is not doing anything to integrate our villages into its new development, just as it did nothing in this respect when it developed Vasant Kunj, we are sure that our problems on account of DDA’s development will increase even as our entitlements under the Master Plan will become impossible to implement as there will be no land left to allow their implementation
(d) DDA’s scheme, for which this public notice has been issued, is clearly not based on any systematic surveys (required to be the basis of Plan-making under DDA’s Act) or monitoring (required by the Master Plan to be basis for Plan amendments/review). In June DDA Vice Chairman was quoted in a newspaper saying about Mahipalpur’s historic johad that if it exists he would look into its improvement. In July-August we also came to know of ‘studies’ proposed by MCD, SPA, etc in our village. We fail to understand why an unplanned scheme has started in our vicinity while the Master Plan review is on-going and when our problems still have to be ‘studied’, especially so since and any study is bound to find what we already know and have been writing to DDA, viz, land in the vicinity is urgently needed to implement entitlements due to us for 40 years.
2. We also seek assurance that the objections sought through this public notice will receive attention. This is in view of the following:
(a) We have been objecting to DDA’s scheme since when it was displayed in September 2001, but DDA has not responded to our letters. Letters of objection (referring to previous letters) sent to DDA by citizens’ groups in Rangpuri and Mahipalpur villages in April 2002, after construction started on DDA’s scheme, are enclosed.
(b) These letters followed letters from MPISG asking that work on the site be held in abeyance till DDA has provided clarification of techno-legal basis of the scheme. It was only on 21.08.02 that DDA replied (only to ask MPISG to ‘discuss the matter’ with an officer with prior appointment). However, in its counter-affidavit filed on 09.09.02 in the PIL that seems to have precipitated this public notice, DDA has said it is unaware of the existence of MPISG.
(c) In June-July 2002, when it was learnt that the scheme did not have mandatory permission, our consultant and MPISG planner wrote a number of letters to the Ministry asking for it to be stopped. In some of these she specifically asked that DDA be asked or she be allowed to forward objections already made by citizens’ groups. The Ministry did not respond.
(d) Following DDA VC’s remark about Mahipalpur’s johad in a news report and news of ‘studies’ proposed in Mahipalpur, we wrote twice to DDA VC (letters enclosed) for a comprehensive scheme to implement our entitlements before carrying out further development. DDA has not responded.
(e) In a court case by another MPISG constituent DDA has not responded to clarifications on entitlements despite the court’s intervention.
We would appreciate, in view of the above, an acknowledgement of our objection along with timely information on any technical ‘shortcomings’ in it.
(President, Gram Sewa Samiti, Mahipalpur and Convenor, MPISG – Villages’ Unit)
Letters from Citizens’ groups in villages summarising previous correspondence, etc, objecting to DDA’s scheme on grounds of ‘backlog’ Master Plan entitlements of villages:
- Gram Sewa Samiti Mahipalpur, dated 25.04.02 (2p)
- Yuva Jagriti Manch Mahipalpur, dated 18.04.02 (1p)
- Gram Sabha Rangpuri, dated 16.04.02 (1p)
enclosing letter Harijan Kalyan Samiti Rangpuri, dated 23.09.01 (1p)
Letters seeking comprehensive scheme for implementation of long overdue entitlements:
- Gram Sewa Samiti Mahipalpur, dated 29.07.02 (1p)
- Gram Sewa Samiti Mahipalpur, dated 10.09.02 (3p)