Response to Public Notice; Sub: Notification No.F.9(13)/98/L&B/LA/Vol.II/9094 Dated:2/9/2003 (HT, 06.09.2003, p.6)
Response date 07.09.2003
The s.4(1) Notification under reference (under your signature) describes public purpose of proposed land acquisition in Mehrauli village as “CRPF Camp under Planned Development of Delhi”. Delhi Development Act of 1957 defines ‘Planned development of Delhi’ as development according to Delhi Master Plan / Zonal Plans. CRPF Camp in Mehrauli is not covered by this definition, as follows:
- The Master Plan land use plan shows area around Mehrauli (including land south of Mehrauli-Mahipalpur road on which a CRPF Camp currently exists) as ‘regional park’ and the Plan document describes this as ‘South Central Ridge (Mehrauli)’ and requires it to “be conserved with utmost care” (p.36). The land use plan does not show any defence land / CRPF camp in the vicinity of Mehrauli. Land acquisition for CRPF Camp is thus in contravention of the Master Plan.
- Nor is CRPF Camp proposed in subsequent Zonal Plan for F-Zone. The Zonal Plan reiterates Plan provisions for Mehrauli ridge, etc (p.7), and further states, “No allotments are to be made in the ridge areas. The existing uses which are not compatible need to be shifted / relocated / removed.” (p.19). The Zonal Plan also earmarks an entire sub-zone (F-14) at Mahipalpur end for Defence use. Land acquisition for CRPF Camp is thus in contravention of Zonal Plan.
While the Plan may be modified under s.11A, this particular modification seems untenable, as follows:
- The Zonal Plan notified in 1998 explicitly requires shifting of such use (p.19)
- The Master Plan prohibits conversion of regional park, save under extraordinary circumstances (p.37), and availability of a Defence use sub-zone (F-14) precludes application of that proviso
- The Act does not permit modifications amounting to major alterations in the character of the Plan and since 1962 area around Mehrauli is earmarked heritage / green / residential / institutional
In any case, s.11A process for Plan modification, inclusive of Public Notice and Gazette Notification, needs to be completed before CRPF Camp can be considered ‘planned development’.
Furthermore, since 1990, it is mandatory under monitoring provisions of the Master Plan for Plan modifications to be based on monitoring data. For the area around Vasant Kunj, government’s attention has been drawn through reports, public notice responses, court cases, etc, to the following:
- Plan provisions for pre-Plan settlements (villages, bastis, colonies and camps) and for the poor have not been implemented and Plan implementation ‘backlog’ has a-priori claim over unplanned uses (like CRPF Camp) on un-utilized land already acquired or available for acquisition.
- The skew in favour of ‘up-market’ development in Vasant Kunj scheme and failure to integrate pre-Vasant Kunj development, has made the ground water situation precarious. Under proviso to s.6 of DD Act, CGWA notification precludes Plan modification to add population not already anticipated (or required to be shifted, eg CRPF Camp) in the approved Master Plan / Zonal Plan.
You are requested to clarify the basis for describing CRPF Camp as ‘planned development’, since it is in contravention of Master Plan / Zonal Plan and arguably does not even merit consideration for Plan modification. You are further requested to provide this clarification at the earliest since it has a bearing on a number of Plan implementation matters being pursued, including in court cases.
Pending such clarification, please consider this an objection to the Public Notice itself on grounds that Delhi Government is not empowered to acquire land for use in contravention of Delhi Master Plan.
In general, you are also requested to please include in such Notices, besides full address of officer to whom objections are to be sent, description of boundaries and reference to relevant Plan provisions. Even if not strictly necessary under LA Act of 1894 this is desirable under DD Act of 1957 and in spirit of Public Notice process and government’s commitment to open governance and bhagidaari.
Gita Dewan Verma / Planner