Letter, Court Matter


On 22.09.2004 Hon’ble High Court issued Notice in the above PIL that seeks enforcement of Delhi Master Plan (DMP) entitlements of existing communities in Mehrauli-Mahipalpur ridge area and stopping of illegal projects jeopardizing these. Apropos illegalities by way of boring, quarrying, deforestation, etc, Hon’ble Court said letters be sent to authorities with reference to the Notice. Accordingly, letters were sent on 23.09.2004 and 24.10.2004 to respondents (DDA, MoUD, GNCTD, MCD, MoCA, DMRC, CGWA), also to you and others, including, to reiterate requests for clarification about the projects challenged attracting EIA notification as amended in July 2004, to MoEF. Request was also made in writing on 08.11.2004 to DCP-SW for investigation u/s.34-A of DD Act.

We are writing now firstly to invite attention to the following:

  1. Even as the matter is listed for 01.12.2004, no reply has been received from respondents, clarification apropos EIA has not been forthcoming from MoEF, and no communication has been received from Police about request for investigation.
  2. Work on other government projects referred to in the PIL has also visibly picked up. For instance:
  • About GNCTD Liver Institute being briskly built south of D2 Vasant Kunj (DMP Green Belt, on plot given by DDA for government hospital while planned hospital site was given to so-called charitable trust that has lately sold the fancy building it built on it, as mentioned, with pictures of Liver Institute and “charitable hospital”, in our letter of 24.10.04) CM was quoted in a news item of 18.11.04 saying this venture with US would be functional in two years.
  • In DDA’s Park-and-Malls project (west of Nelson Mandela road, usurping DMP residential land) the ridge has been fully excavated on two Mall plots (pictures of one were included in letter of 24.10.04 and commencement of work on another mentioned in letter of 08.11.04) and the spur to their West demolished to make way for road.
  • On DDA’s 56-Ha Sultangarhi project (in DMP Green Belt / ridge regional park) that Hon’ble High Court had ordered stopped and inquired into vide judgment of 16.09.2002 in WP 4978/2002 (included in full as Annex in additional affidavit in the instant PIL) and over 1700 local families had objected to in response to s.11A Public Notice of 15.09.2002, work has started (as mentioned in letter of 08.11.04) at full-scale on one of the (scam-ridden) mega-housing sites and is in readiness to start on others.
  • Private (illegal) development at all sites has also picked up. For instance:
    • Between GNCTD Mandi and Meharauli-Qutb road to West, a private coloniser has cleared / buried acres of ridge forest (a front page report about this appeared in Navbharat Times).
    • Near GNCTD Liver Institute, more “farmhouses” are being converted to party-places.
    • North of site for Malls a cooperative housing site is being / has been sold to builder.
    • Next to the old MCD school to south of Sultangarhi mega-housing, a colonizer is constructing boundary wall on a large plot.
    • Further South (on site surveyed by DMRC for metro depot) illegal quarrying continues
  • All these involve illegal ground water extraction and/or excavation in the ridge. They also do not seem to meet mandatory requirements for essential facilities, including for access/parking and waste management (notably in case of GNCTD projects). The wariness on the sites, especially in face of attempts to take pictures, is enough to raise doubts and the silence of authorities is enough to confirm them.
  • To have to routinely police unlawfulness of authorities is as far removed from duties of citizens and responsibilities of courts as authorities’ willfulness and adversarial, dilatory and defiant stances in PIL against that are from propriety, or so we believe. Hon’ble High Court’s judgment of 16.09.2002 unequivocally upheld protections that existing environmental and development law guarantee for ridge area and made it amply clear that presumption about s.11A was not acceptable. These were points we had repeatedly raised before the PIL was filed, in responses to s.11A Public Notice precipitated by it for Sultangarhi project, in objections to other projects and policies for which s.11A was not issued (including farmhouse-misuse-fee policy, on which Hon’ble High Court has lately issued notice and we have written the enclosed letter to ask authorities to include / answer in their replies to that as well as our PIL issues raised in our objection of 17.02.2004). These are the grounds of our instant PIL, repeatedly reiterated in letters to authorities since it was first heard almost a year ago. All that counsel for respondents have done is keep referring to a politician’s PIL in Supreme Court that, according to them, “allowed” Malls with illegal boring. Some or all of them have also appeared, in a petition by some NGOs, before Supreme Court Empowered Committee that also reportedly “cleared” the Malls. Not only have authorities not extended similar “cooperation” in our matter, they seem not to have mentioned in the others that the issue was sub-judice in High Court, on grounds already upheld by a previous judgment. It does sadly seem (as in these pictures taken today on Sultangarhi site, with deja-vu about similar pictures taken in support of PIL of 2002) they wish to wish away “inconvenient” law and court orders.

    We seek again your intervention through compliance of order of 16.09.2002 in terms of inquiry and whatever else you consider appropriate – not only for rescuing the ridge from plunder in anomie, but also for rescuing us from anomie.

    Yours sincerely

    Gita Dewan Verma, MPISG Planner

    Encl. Letters of 23.09.04, 24.10.04, 08.09.04, 21.11.04 referred above