Sub: “Representation” forwarded by GNCTD re mandatory provisions for hawkers, etc.

With reference to GNCTD letter forwarding to various officials confidential letter from CVC and confidential letter arising from it and with reference to an instance of misuse of its forwarded letters by an NGO/firm to extort (sent as confidential letter to Chief Secretary on 07/12/2004 and posted on the web following developments reported on 09/12/2004) 

Shri S Regunathan
Chief Secretary, GNCTD
Secretariat Building, R.No.702B, C-Wing
I.P.Estate, New Delhi - 110002

Sub: “Representation” forwarded by GNCTD re mandatory provisions for hawkers, etc.

Ref: Letter No.F.22/15/2001/UD/PF/10971 dated 25.10.04 from Under Secretary (UD)1

Dear Mr Regunathan,

  1. I am in receipt of a copy of the letter under reference to various officials forwarding to them my (confidential) letter of 02.10.04 to Police Commissioner (copied to you for information in continuation of CVC’s (confidential) letter of 10.09.04) requesting them to “furnish the ATR/comments to the representationist under intimation to this deptt.” Please permit me to bring to your attention the following:
    • All officials (except Cantonment Board CEO) to whom the said letter is addressed are in receipt of prior representations in the matter with reference, specifically, to disregard of mandatory Master Plan provisions in their projects / policies.
    • In a counter-affidavit of January 2003, DDA assured ‘pilot-project’ as per our detailed proposals (of mid-2001) for Plan solutions for hawking, but has taken since an adversarial dilatory stand and the PIL, next listed on 05.01.05, has not progressed.
    • A shocking account of how MCD misled Supreme Court to help an NGO take over ‘management’ of hawking in Delhi is set out in the NGO’s magazine. Representations about this have not borne fruit and we are considering approaching the Apex Court.
    • NDMC is taking up a lot of ‘redevelopment’, including with DMRC. Neither has replied to representations about imperatives arising from mandatory provisions for hawkers.
    • GNCTD projects / policies, initiated by its departments / ministries regardless of one another and of the Master Plan, infringe Plan entitlements of hawkers – directly (by failing to make mandatory provision for them) and indirectly (as in recent policy to allow shopping on all days and till late, jeopardizing Plan options for weekly markets) – and its “bhagidaars” do the same in initiatives empowered without basis in law.
    • In our PIL (WP 8523/2003), targeted against cumulative impact in ridge-area of projects (including GNCTD’s) violating environment and development law, including Plan provisions for hawkers, respondents include GNCTD, DDA, MCD and DMRC. High Court issued notice on 22.09.04, after which work on the sites accelerated but no replies were filed and on 01.12.04 the matter was adjourned to February 2005. I do not expect any ATR/comments in response to the forwarding under reference.
  2. Indeed, I had made no representation to GNCTD. GNCTD has no direct Constitutional powers for urban development (governed by Delhi Development Act through the Master Plan). GNCTD has not only miserably failed to discharge responsibilities under the Act (it even forgot to represent itself on the Authority for a full year and has never effectively represented the city on the High Level Policy Committee for Plan implementation through detailed planning), it has also been flouting the Plan in all its initiatives and publicly disparaging it as well. The uniquely strong legal basis for urban development in Delhi provided rare opportunity to innovate a manner of urban reform that could set a model for the world, an opportunity that GNCTD has frittered away by choosing clichéd models of so-called good-governance that are being seen through the world over. It has brought us to a state of anomie, dangerously close to anarchy. You are as free to dismiss my assessment, based on competent chronicling of the collapse as it is happening since 1999-2000, as you are welcome to look at it. I have no use of GNCTD’s forwardings to add to my collection and hence no cause to make a representation to it, certainly not about anomie for which it and its forwarding practices are largely responsible.
  3. The reason I am writing today is that I have come across a peculiar instance involving GNCTD-forwarded representations, which I wish to bring to your attention. One Central Commercial Industry of India (CCII), a private enterprise with official looking letterhead, is installing Logo House Number Plates in slums, etc, at Rs.10 apiece. It has some GNCTD letters forwarding its to various officials to send comments / reply / ATR “to the representationist directly under intimation to this deptt”. On the basis of these CCII seeks cooperation, as of SHOs, for “work relating to Fixing up of number plates and Survey work as per orders issued”. The impression that those who are, in effect, purchasing a plastic number plate costing maybe Rs.2 for Rs.10 plus personal information have is of a GNCTD survey (increasingly perceived as some straw to clutch in chaos). Demand to see work-order, etc, is quelled by Delhi police (which, incidentally, pays no heed to complaints / GNCTD-forwarded representations of the poor, whom it apparently does not consider community for the kind of community policing for which it has just received an international award). In case what CCII is up to is a GNCTD job-work, I wonder about its conformity with law for development, right to information, etc. In case it is not and GNCTD needs copies of letters that CCII is using, for taking any concrete action against prima facie misrepresentation for profit, I happen to have a set that it can have collected.
  4. Apropos CVC’s letter of 10.09.04, permit me to suggest that GNCTD conceptualise an action plan to ensure that its own projects and policies and legislation protect and enforce Master Plan entitlements of hawkers. It could put this up, in the Authority of DDA and High Level Policy Committee for the Plan, for emulation by other agencies (also duly represented on the Authority and Committee), if needed with application to MoUD for directions u/s.41. Permit me to also say that GNCTD is expected to respect, besides the Master Plan, sanctity of the legal process for public participation in urban development (viz, Public Notice, about which it has demonstrated consistent disregard and lately also impropriety – vis-à-vis s.11A Public Notices of 18.09.04 for regularising IT Park on the riverbed and of 04.11.04 for redevelopment of industries) and also of the lawful-solution-seeking nature of PIL (now that Apex Court has spoken of testing conformity with law of an initiative arising from PIL). Favours of “bhagidari”, forwardings, etc, can neither match nor be allowed to undermine Constitutional options available to citizens of India.

As a planner wholly committed to engage against anomie in urban development (especially its twin dynamics of atrophy in professions / politico-administration and ascendancy of para-professionalism / ’civil-society’) I consider it my responsibility to extend professional support to those in positions of authority in my government and professional institutions. My criticism, targeted only against drift from Constitutional framework, is the way I have had to use to extend this support. I continue to hope, despite reality, that there will be occasion for me to extend it also to initiatives that respect and strengthen sovereign law and institutions.

With apologies for a somewhat personal and perhaps intemperate letter,

Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma, Planner


  • (Text of) Letter of 10.09.04 from CVC
  • Letter of 02.10.04 to Police Commissioner
  • (Text of) letter of 25.10.04 from Under Secretary (UD){fn]Ibid.

cc: for information, with reference to letter of 10.09.04...