Letter, Court Matter; Letter to LG (12/02/2005)
A synergy platform of citizens' groups with legitimate stakes in benefits of planned development
Lieutenant Governor / DDA Chairman
Sub: WP 8523/2003
The above PIL is for enforcement of Delhi Master Plan entitlements of old communities in Mehrauli-Mahipalpur area and stopping of unplanned projects jeopardizing these entitlements. It relies, besides on Delhi Master Plan (1990) and F-Zone Plan (1998) under Delhi Development Act and CGWA ban on boring (1999) under Environmental Protection Act, on judgment of 16.09.2002 in WP 4978/2002, on identical grounds, in which Hon’ble Court had ordered one of these projects (at Sultangarhi) not only stopped but also inquired into by DDA Chairman to prevent perpetuation of identical illegalities. Subsequent amendment to EIA notification and draft NCR Plan 2021 form additional grounds. The Hon’ble Court issued notice on 22.09.2004 and asked the petitioner to write to authorities about continuing illegalities on the sites. Accordingly, several letters have been written to the respondents as well as to you (for inquiry as per Sultangarhi judgment, etc), MoEF (wrt subsequent EIA notification), NCRPB (wrt subsequent draft NCR Plan 2021), DCP-SW (for investigation u/s.34-A), etc. On 05.01.2005 Parliamentary Standing Committee for Urban Development visited the area and we apprised it of non-compliance of court orders (in continuation of memoranda in response to its Public Notice of June 2003, after CBI exposed a scam at Master Plan minding levels) and in the presence of senior DDA officials the Committee assured opportunity to give oral evidence.
Regardless of all this, work on all projects illustrated in the PIL continues, around them private parties are also illegally developing, and further identical illegalities are also starting (eg, Sun-City Mall is now selling in place of Vasant Kunj Community Centre) or proposed (eg, in Mahipalpur Hauz, GNCTD has proposed a hospital and DDA has proposed land use change for commercial complex vide s.11A Public Notice of 07.11.2004). On 11.02.2004 GNCTD has forwarded to DDA and MCD (to reply directly to representationist) letters of 21-22.11.2004 to all respondents to request also expediting of replies to court. Although at hearing on 01.12.2004, when the matter was adjourned to 23.02.2004, respondents had sought only two more weeks, no replies have been filed on notice of 22.09.2004.
Now officials have opined in the press (HT South Delhi, 10.02.2004):
- R.K.Sood, Chief Engineer (SW), DDA: “High Court had ordered a halt to construction in Sultangarhi until the change of land use (CLU) is effected. The union Ministry issued a notification for the land use change on Jan 29, 2004”. ie, Mr Sood considers notification that MoUD issued under previous government to allow a project sub-judice in WP 8523/2003 without ensuring full compliance of order of 16.09.2002 in WP 4978/2002 (cf, our letter of 22.11.04) more significant than court notice of 22.09.04, parliamentary committee interaction of 05.01.05 (at which he was present) and GNCTD forwarding of 11.01.05. Incidentally, Mr Sood, as SE (SW), was present in court when Hon’ble High Court pronounced the order of 16.09.02 and we had sought, vide letter of 27.10.02 to DDA Director (Vigilance), inquiry against him when work did not stop in compliance of that order.
- R.K.Sood, Chief Engineer (SW), DDA: The mall issue falls in the domain of Commissioner Planning A.K.Jain. Jain not available for comment. “Mall” not being a type of use-premise listed in Master Plan development code, the “mall issue” falls in the domain of Commissioner Planning only as a misuse issue, to whom we have written to ask about the domain from which flows the bounty to make us Mall-a-Mall, with reference to Sun-City Mall currently selling on community center site even as DDA has not cared to file further reply also in our WP 6980/2002 (against such misuse of commercial facility sites in residential areas) in the four weeks granted to it by the court on 12.01.05 (further to order of 11.08.04 for the same)
- P.K.Verma, Suptd Engineer, PWD: Not aware whether the CLU was obtained in institute’s case. Joined long after the work began. The project started in July 2004 and is likely to be completed by December 2005. “Most work will be completed by the end of the year”. ie, GNCTD started (on a site somehow allotted to it in DMP green-belt for general hospital, as per DDA’s letter no. F.3(84)97-MP/118 of 15.02.01, regardless also of hospital-waste implications for residential area or implications of problematic access and farmhouse-party nuisance for hospital amidst farmhouses, a specialty hospital) a specialty hospital (regardless of repeated suggestions to locate such facility elsewhere in NCR, as now recommended in draft NCR Plan 2021) while it was sub-judice in WP 8523/2003 and possibly after amendment of 07.07.04 to EIA notification. And the project, unfettered by mandatory Public Notice process for DMP modification or CGWA ban or NCR Plan imperatives, is scheduled to be completed by end year – regardless of notice of 22.09.04 in WP 8523/2003 as well as of remarks about GNCTD’s illegal upgradation-permissions (to schools) in order of 27.10.04 in WP 8954-59/2003.
- Hari Om Chauhan, EE, S-W Div IV: “The boring used for the construction of the DDA sports Complex was done much before the CGWA ban came into force”. ie, despite CGWA’s cautionary communications to DDA (part of the pleadings in WP 4978/2002 and WP 8523/2003) DDA reads in the CGWA ban prohibition only on boring not withdrawal. Construction on the Sports Complex in DMP Green Belt started after CGWA ban – and despite citizens’ requests to shift it to OCF (other community facility) site on the main road (later given to a management college, in contravention of DMP). Tender (No.04/FO/SWZ/2003-04) for ground water development was issued in May 2003 and Tender (No.13/FO/SWZ/-3-04/NIT) for Swimming Pool for Handicapped persons, surely a specialty more suited to sports complex in an area less water-critical, was issued in August 2003. A news report of 04.09.03 said, “citing paucity of water, the DDA scaled down its plans” and quoted then DDA Chairman (now Secretary MoUd) as saying that he was “not aware of the official status” and “if land use had been changed” (request of 07.09.03 to him to please ascertain and clarify returned no response).
- S.K.Mehto, Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board: “The change of land use not required in the case of farmers’ market because no permanent structures will be raised in the market. “There will be only open platforms for farmer’s interest. CLU is required when there is a regular construction”.” GNCTD Mandi is “wholesale commercial” use and, regardless of what kind of structure (governed by building controls) is a use not permissible in DMP ridge regional park. The PIL, filed from Mahipalpur village, is not opposed to “farmers’ interest”, only to location of “farmers’ market”, involving now also illegal boring, in the ridge (whose protection is of great concern to farmers) rather than on a planned commercial site (misuse of which is also of concern to urban villagers).
Now that officials have chosen to “defend”, in press, projects challenged in WP 8523/2003, we again seek your intervention for replies to the Hon’ble court as per its order of 22.09.2004.
And now that Mr R K Sood has chosen to “defend” the Sultangarhi project by trivializing the landmark judgment of 16.09.2002 in WP 4978/2002 we again seek its compliance in terms of inquiry.
Gita Dewan Verma, MPISG Planner