Letter to CVC (17/01/2005)

Mandatory provisions existing since 1990 in Delhi Master Plan for hawkers are “proposed” in the draft DMP-2021 ...A scam to cover up the scam of deliberate implementation failure for profiting (also by some NGOs) from hawkers and profiteering by misuse, this graphic case in the DMP subversion that has come to pass despite scrutiny of court, commission, parliamentary standing committee, needs to be seen also as a case of subversion of safeguards. 

Chief Vigilance Commissioner

Sub: DMP subversion: insights into helplessness of safeguards

Ref: CVC reference of 10.09.2004 (no.001/W&H(DDA)121/5957)

Dear Sir,

Mandatory provisions existing since 1990 in Delhi Master Plan for hawkers are “proposed” in the draft DMP-2021 approved on 10.01.2005. This is not possible without comprehensive subversion of accountability-guaranteeing provisions for DMP revision as well as safeguards against such subversion. A scam to cover up the scam of deliberate implementation failure for profiting (also by some NGOs) from hawkers and profiteering by misuse, this graphic case in the DMP subversion that has come to pass despite scrutiny of court, commission, parliamentary standing committee, needs to be seen also as a case of subversion of safeguards. It is to share insights from the latter perspective that I write this long note.

In continuation of engagements in 2001-2002 with CVC on the hawkers’ issue (after CVC intervention, in effect, privileged one Madhu Kishwar of NGO / magazine Manushi), my letter of 10.11.20031 pointed out this cover-up scam, with reference to text on DDA’s new-look website inaugurated by CVC that “proposed” existing provisions. In a letter of 22.12.20032 I sent a copy of Kishwar’s article in her magazine that described in detail how MCD and Supreme Court were led to endorse her ideas for promoting informal sector. In my letter of 19.02.20043 I pointed out DDA’s proposal to use, in contravention of statutory provisions, Rs 30 crores for pretty-fication of markets including misuse of formal space for small enterprise.

These issues were also raised in our supplementary affidavit of 2004 in WP 6980/2002 in which DDA in its affidavit of 18.01.2003 had conceded non-implementation of mandatory provisions and assured a “pilot project” and action on specific instances of misuse illustrated in the case. This PIL, filed jointly by small traders and residents of flats, villages and busties and myself as their planner, specifically prayed only for quashing a tender for auction of space for unrestricted use on freehold basis with liberty to amalgamate in markets in residential areas, for being illegal in terms of mandatory DMP provisions for equitable benefit of primarily local enterprises and customers and, hence, violative of statutory provisions for disposal of land, etc. On 31.10.2002 High Court declined to quash the tender (auction was the same day), but issued notice to DDA and MoUD to see if directions may be issued for future guidance. DDA filed its counter-affidavit. We filed rejoinder. On 22.08.2003 the court ordered that Secretary MoUD explain as to why reply is not filed. On seventh listing on 10.12.2003 it recorded UoI is not desirous of filing reply. On 17.12.2003 it asked us to point out violations at all levels of plans and though layout and sub-layout plans are not public documents we complied on basis of surveys, etc. Besides describing in detail violations already conceded, our affidavit pointed out non-implementation of assurances to court, illegal MCD-NGO initiatives (with Manushi’s article in annexure), etc. On 11.08.2004 the court ordered DDA and MoUD to file counter-affidavits by next listing on 13.10.2004.

After change in government / adoption of National Common Minimum Programme, a letter of 14.06.2004 on behalf of hawkers engaging in support of DMP solutions sought the following:

  1. Exclusion of Delhi, where an adequate statutory solution for the hawking problem exists, from any "national policy" exercise that might still be proposed / pursued / resumed.
  2. Immediate announcement of "policy" for time-bound implementation of DMP provisions for space for informal sector in continuation of assurance to Court in January 2003.
  3. Immediate suspension of all manners of harassment of hawkers for being in the "wrong" place till such time as their rightful space is provided to them as per DMP.
  4. Immediate suspension of all initiatives that directly or indirectly jeopardize DMP entitlements of informal sector, including:
    • unrestricted disposal of commercial space, especially illegal liberty to amalgamate
    • condoning misuse of hawker space, including through illegal freehold conversions
    • "pilot projects", "tehbazaris", etc, with no basis in DMP provisions / processes
    • diversionary "space-less" initiatives for so-called welfare of hawkers
  5. Transfer of all resources being spent on such illegal initiatives, especially Rs.30 crores to be invested by DDA for redevelopment / pretty-fication of markets (outside the ambit of its Act), to implementation of DMP provisions for informal sector / low turnover shops.
  6. Public meeting with officials of DDA’s Planning Wing and DMP-2021 expert group for informal sector / trade and commerce at the earliest.

An NCMP-DMP note elaborating the context of these in terms of NCMP and efforts since 2001 was sent with letter of " target="_blank">23.06.2004. This was prepared after SEWA/NASVI, Manushi and Jeevika (NGO started by a former PMO official) called for implementing NDA policy in Delhi, in name of NCMP, at meeting on 16.06.2004. Nearly all of the few hawker groups brought to this decided to consider, instead, the DMP demand brought to their attention. They, in any case, had no prior association with these NGOs beyond having availed a few train tickets to go to Mumbai for World Social Forum in January 2004 and a meeting at Pune thereafter (where Delhi’s Sodhan Singh was elected NASVI national convener, it seems after SEWA’s group from Gujarat and NASVI’s from Patna opposed each others’ candidates).

These NGOs are aware of statutory DMP provisions (Kishwar’s remarks about DMP have been quoted in press and her magazine mentions names of professors of SPA and others from SPA and TVB and HUDCO claim proximity to her; senior DDA architect-planners, SPA professors and HUDCO officers are mentioned in SEWA-NASVI material and their policy draft and website had DMP provisions; Jt Commissioner Delhi Police who participated in SEWA policy making, also as NGO Prayas, acknowledged them in course of Night Shelter advocacy on behalf of Action-Aid; etc). But these NGOs’ discourse, which has proven by its failure to throw up any solutions that it is aimed only at subverting statutory ones, is founded on denial of their existence. At their Delhi meeting, they all feigned ignorance about DMP to exhort hawkers to agitate for policy and abandoning of law. After failing to impress, they wrote to hawkers on 06.09.2004 to say they had come to know of favourable law and to ask for names of advocates assisting in its pursuit, so as to call them for a national consultation.

CVC’s confidential / most immediate letter of 10.09.2004 to GNCTD Chief Secretary (with copy to PMO, DDA CVO and myself) urged an action plan for DMP provisions for hawkers. DDA sought police assistance for removing hawkers from Nehru Place and I called to ask if I could enclose a copy in the letter I was writing to request Police Commissioner to consider DDA’s request in light of DMP, NCMP and the fact that Joint Commissioner was party to the policy initiative that had just admitted its ignorance of the law. I was advised to mark the letter confidential and copy to others in the loop and I wrote as such my letter of 02.10.20044.

As per GNCTD’s letter of 25.10.20045 to MCD Commissioner, NDMC Chairperson, DDA Vice Chairman and Cantonment CEO with copy to me, CVC confidential letter had been and mine was now forwarded to them, with request “to furnish ATR/comments to the representationist” (ie, me) “under intimation to this deptt”. All, already seized of our viewpoint through our letters, etc (except Cantonment Board CEO), were thus informed of the CVC reference.

Nevertheless, in October NDMC Chairperson initiated a daily license system for hawkers in Gole Market (after SEWA-NASVI intervention); MCD approved as “policy” Manushi’s ideas to “regularize” hawkers (in effect, privatise hawker regulation), about which I wrote in my letter of 17.10.20046; DDA and MoUD failed to file counter-affidavits by 13.10.2004 and our PIL got listed for 05.01.2005 while, presumably in matters in which DMP facts were kept from the court, there were orders for evictions. With letters to official NCMP minders (PMO, UPA-Left CC and NAC) this section of our NCMP-DMP efforts was suspended.

In December MCD decided to auction hawker management and by letter of 09.12.20047 to Secretary MoUD we sought action against MCD for violation of DD Act and expediting of replies in our PIL. This letter (which included GNCTD letter of 25.10.2004, thus appraising also Secretary MoUD of the CVC reference) was copied to CVC, with my note about copies of letter of 08.12.20048 about our demand for disposal of Public Notice for DMP modification to “regularize” the illegal DMRC-GNCTD IT Park being constructed on the riverbed (to which hawkers had responded, with reference also to the CVC reference) and my letter of 07.12.20049 to GNCTD Chief Secretary about GNCTD’s forwarding practices, with a suggestion for drawing up (within ambit of law) an action plan as per the CVC reference.

On 20.09.2004, ie, after CVC reference of 10.09.2004 that was copied to PMO, the National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganized/Informal Sector was constituted – in Ministry of SSI, not MoUD through which UoI was respondent in our PIL and through which national policy as per Manushi, SEWA, etc, had been made. PMO press release of 11.12.200410 about PM’s “intensive interaction” with the Commission and Advisory Board mentioned the names of those appointed to these, which include Manushi’s Kishwar and SEWA’s Mirai Chatterjee.

Our demand for stopping work on IT Park till disposal of Public Notice for it was forwarded for appropriate action to Secretary MoUD as per President Secretariat’s letter of 13.12.2004. Also on 13.12.2004 MCD Commissioner inaugurated the identically illegal Night Shelter in Pushta with Action Aid / Prayas, note of 19.12.200411 about which was sent to CVC with letters of 18.12.2004 to DDA, MoUD and Police Commissioner, the last with reference to prior complaints about communal colouring of Pushta clearance and propaganda at WSF-2004 and commonality of NGO Prayas in hawker policy and night shelter initiatives. (Further MCD-NGO riverbed encroachment was reported on 10.01.2005 – for kabadi / chor-bazaar).

On 23.12.2004 newspapers reported DMRC had moved court for directions for encroachment removal around Shastri Park / IT Park. Obviously, no one told the court that development at Shastri Park was itself illegal and demand for stopping it had been forwarded by President to Secretary of its nodal ministry. The court directed Lieutenant Governor to treat DMRC’s petition as a representation to be decided by the end of the month. Representation of 26.12.200412 to LG sought now “exemplary demolition” of IT Park.

On 29.12.2004 DDA demolished two-dozen surviving temples and mosques in the stretch of Pushta across Shastri Park. A letter to LG was sent the same day. Following reports on 01-02.01.2005 about Imam, CM, Dy Speaker, etc expressing agitation over demolition of one mosque and no comment from Action-Aid, known for its anti-communalism activism, on the attempts to paint in communal shades the demolitions right next to its Night Shelter, photographs of most sites (9 temples, 6 mosques) were taken on 02.01.2005 and posted on the web, with photographs of Night Shelter and earlier photographs. Fact of these and errors in political statements were reported to LG and later to the inquiry committee set up by him.

Meanwhile, in yet another instance of DDA / MoUD concealing facts, Mr Sajjan Kumar, MP from outer Delhi (which includes Vasant Kunj from where our PIL was filed) and member of DDA’s Advisory Council, MoUD Consultative Committee as well as Parliamentary Standing Committee that is seized of the hawkers’ case through memoranda in response to its public notice of June 2003 inviting views on DDA after CBI caught in it a scam at DMP minding levels, wrote a letter to the Minister to “propose” existing DMP provisions. In confidential letter of 29.12.200413 to DDA Chairman / LG (enclosing the CVC reference and copied to it and PMO) we said this raised doubts about the draft DMP-2021 to be discussed on 10.01.2005, especially in view of failure to reply in PIL, dispose off Public Notices, etc

In a note of 05.01.2005 presented to Parliamentary Standing Committee at its inspection visit to Vasant Kunj, instances of non-compliance with court orders, etc, were enumerated in context of imminent draft DMP-2021. The Committee assured us it was seized of our efforts and would be hearing our oral evidence. Our MP asked us to send details and we wrote to him about the hawkers’ issue and “bhagidaari” interferences in constitutional processes.

Our PIL (in which we are in court since 31.10.2002 without a specific prayer because the court desired to see about directions for future and have also filed a difficult supplementary affidavit pointing out besides violations, perjury and manipulation of courts, while DDA and MoUD have not filed replies even after change in government and CVC reference) was dismissed on 06.01.2005 – for default, after the associate who appeared asked, after pointing out respondents have not replied, etc, for a pass-over when respondents desired to argue. Later we sought and were granted leave to file for restoration. The respondents argued against our restoration application, heard on 12.01.2005, and we have been listed for end of April subject to payment of costs (first 10000/-, maybe 5000/- in the order).

On 13.01.2005 Asian Age reported that (liberalized) existing DMP hawker provisions are “proposed” in draft DMP-2021 (to which we do not have access since it was confidentially given only to some “experts”, as reported by The Hindu on 06.01.2004 with their views).

On 14.01.2005 I received an invitation to the launch of Madhu Purnima Kishwar’s book by Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Dy Chairman, Planning Commission. Planning Commission is seized of the DMP view through NCMP-DMP note of 2004 and also through my presentation at its experts’ round table in 2001 (which led to the connecting of Delhi’s slum problem to failure to implement DMP provisions for EWS housing in its report of 2002, perhaps the first official catching of the DMP subversion scam), through my book (Slumming India, Penguin-India, 2002), my intervention at NGO “consultation” on Night-Shelter at IHC in 2003 where then Adviser (HUD) was on the dais, etc. The launch of Kishwar’s book at IIC this week is to be followed by a panel discussion. The panellists include Informal Sector Commission member Bibek Debroy (Director of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation whose trustees include, besides former PM’s family, Mr Manmohan Singh, Mr P Chidambram, Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, “Resident Representative of Dow Jones & Co, USA” Mr Suman Dubey, etc). Kishwar’s book is about Deepening Democracy and I am trying to plumb the depths of her thoughts on democracy from her article that we included in letter of 2003 to CVC, affidavit of 2004, etc:

“(MCD Commissioner, Rakesh Mehta)… adopted our project with enthusiasm. His first challenge was to get the proposal passed by the Standing Council of the Municipal Corporation where he faced tremendous opposition from corporators of all political hues. Even when they reluctantly approved the model market proposal, both BJP and Congress corporators made common cause with one another in opposing the involvement of manushi … Mr Mehta did not at that stage make an issue of who was to implement the scheme and simply got the project cleared. … Mr Mehta was told by his own officials that he would be committing "contempt of court" …if he allowed the two pilot projects to come through… Therefore, his next challenge was to get the Supreme Court to put its stamp of approval on the model market project. He chose the best possible lawyers for the case and allowed manushi to work closely with them. …Unlike the usual run of government lawyers, Mr Rohatagi and Mr Sen took on this case with conviction and enthusiasm. The petition they filed in the Supreme Court on behalf of the MCD is an impressive landmark in the history of governance … Since government officers do not have to pay anything from their pockets for fighting court cases, they tend to harass people no end. …However, in this case, the MCD petitioned the Court with the open admission that the existing municipal policy with regard to hawking and vending licences had been a failure … This admission required dexterous handling because the entire licensing system was devised and sealed by the Supreme Court … To tell the mighty Supreme Court that their system had proved a disaster is a risky affair … Also, for a Municipal Commissioner to admit in writing that municipal officials working under him are abusing the system for personal gain requires real courage and integrity … our previous experience had taught us that official orders could hardly be implemented in the absence of local political support… in order to blunt the hostility of the local Congress Corporator of Sewa Nagar, we decided to get in touch with the Delhi Pradesh Congress President, Subhash Sharma, whom I had known since my student union days… his response was: " This is the first time my sister has asked me for anything. Take it that this will be done." … Within three days, he arranged for me to meet the Chairman of the Standing Committee, Mr. Ram Babu Sharma, who had all this time serious misgivings about of our pilot project. But once he was told that Subhash Sharma had adopted it, Ram Babu also assumed a brotherly role… during our first meeting, Ram Babu openly declared : "Behenji, we are very clear on this. When we don’t want to do something we know how to obstruct it, even if orders come from the Supreme Court or the Party High Command. At such times, there is no point citing rules and court orders to us. But when we want to do something, we put aside all rule books and just go ahead and do it, Now that we have accepted you as our sister and you have come to seek our help, we will make sure it works…" … it is worth noting that when the BJP was in power at Sewa Nagar before the Congress, we had approached their corporators as well. But despite all our efforts we failed to convince them into supporting the avowed policy of their very own Prime Minister…” etc etc.

We have decided not to restore our PIL. I am giving to my hawker clients copies of CVC’s confidential / most immediate letter of 10.09.2004 to GNCTD. My confidential letters to others I might now post on the web, along with this chronicle. As a planner, I am indebted to CVC for intervention in support of DMP.

With warm regards and Republic Day greetings

Gita Dewan Verma, Planner

  • 1. source: http://plan.architexturez.net/site/mpisg/c/031110
  • 2. source: http://plan.architexturez.net/site/mpisg/c/031222
  • 3. source: http://plan.architexturez.net/site/mpisg/c/040219
  • 4. source: http://plan.architexturez.net/site/mpisg/c/041002
  • 5. source: http://plan.architexturez.net/site/mpisg/c/041004
  • 6. source: http://plan.architexturez.net/site/mpisg/c/041017
  • 7. Demand for action against MCD
    For deliberate violation of s.21 of Delhi Development Act in its approval of proposal to auction weekly hawking markets: Letter to Secretary MoUD, 09/12/2004


  • 8. Illegal I-T-Park on Riverbed
    DEMAND FOR STOPPING IT, TESTING s.11A PUBLIC NOTICE OF 18.09.2004 FOR ITS “IN-SITU REGULARISATION” FOR CONFORMITY WITH LAW AND DISPOSAL OF RESPONSES TO IT - forthwith and, in any case, before disposal of s.11a Public Notices of 04.11.2004 (redevelopment of industrial clusters) and 07.11.2004 (commercial development in historic water body in ridge area)


  • 9. Letter about GNCTD forwarding practices
  • 10. PM chairs meeting of the National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganised/Informal Sector
    The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, had an intensive interaction with the National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganized/Informal Sector and its Advisory Board, here today. Pursuant to a commitment by the United Progressive Government in the National Common Minimum Programme, the National Commission was set up in September 2004 to examine the problems facing the enterprises in the unorganized/informal sector and suggest measures for generation of large scale employment opportunities on a sustainable basis. The Commission has also been asked to recommend measures for enhancing the competitiveness of the informal sector in the emerging global environment, and strengthening its linkages with its institutional framework in the areas of credit, raw material, infrastructure, technology upgradation, skill development and marketing. 

    http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=5594 (Retrieved 17th August, 2013)
  • 11. MCD-ActionAid Night Shelter in Yamuna Pushta
  • 12. Representation for exemplary demolition of IT Park at Shastri Park
    And stopping of all identically illegal projects in riverbed/ridge and as “metro property development” till disposal of PIL/Public Notices about them (to Lieutenant Governor / DDA Chairman, 26/12/2004)


  • 13. Letter to LG (29/12/2004)