Letter to MP (09/01/2005)
Following Parliamentary Standing Committee inspection visit to Vasant Kunj on 09/01/2005
Shri Sajjan Kumar
Hon’ble Member of Parliament of India from Outer Delhi
AB-713 Pkt 2 Pashchim Puri (Nr Madipur Colony), N Delhi - 110063
Sub: Delhi Master Plan
Ref: Parliamentary Standing Committee inspection visit to Vasant Kunj on 05/01/2005
Please permit me to recall to you our interaction at the visit under reference. Also permit me to apologize for discourtesy on my part. As you seem aware, we had an ugly experience at our former MP’s visit in 2001 to the same “bhagidaars”. Not as excuse for discourtesy, but as explanation of our distress about this “bhagidaari”, permit me to bring to your attention two illustrations.
As mentioned in the note handed (encl.1), we are struggling against disregard of court orders, etc. “Bhagidaari” is central to this problem. For instance, last “suggestion” made on 05/01/2005, through Federation Chairman AK Mehta, was for Sultangarhi scheme, while the first thing I mentioned was judgment of 16/09/2002 by which High Court (rejecting Mr Arun Jaitley’s defence) ordered this illegal scheme stopped and inquired into by DDA Chairman. 1700 families (mainly in Mahipalpur and Rangpuri Pahari) as well as Federation of RWAs (then chaired by Late Shri ON Shukla) objected in response to Public Notice then issued. Since 22/09/2004 the scheme is under notice in fresh PIL about illegal projects (with foundation-stones laid by CM and others in “bhagidaari” functions) jeopardizing entitlements of old communities, whose members were (as in “bhagidaari” meeting in 2001 at which they tried to approach their former MP) told by the Councilor (rather, her husband) that the visit of 05/01/2005 was also for flat residents (rather, the “bhagidaars” that claim to represent them).
The other illustration relates to Plan provisions for space for hawkers. These exist, though NGOs launched in 2001 (just as we had made headway in securing their enforcement) NDA policies based on the insistence that they do not. (This was what we had gone to ask our former MP to raise in Parliament which was in session when “bhagidaars” had invited him to tell him about their municipal grievances). On 28/12/2004 newspapers reported your letter to Hon’ble Minister, about which MPISG hawker groups were upset. I have again advised them to write to you in their specific matters and, as their planner, need to bring the following to your attention:
- In one of our PIL, filed in 2002 jointly by hawkers, flat residents, village residents, etc, in Vasant Kunj area, DDA affidavit of January 2003 assured implementation in line with our detailed report of 2001. (DDA and MoUD have not replied further in the matter despite repeated court orders)
- On 10/09/2004 CVC wrote a confidential / most immediate letter to GNCTD Chief Secretary on our representation in this regard. (GNCTD promptly trivialized this by routine forwarding to all agencies).
- In 2001 a CVC reference on an NGO’s “expose” of extortion by municipal staff, etc, led to PMO policy for hawkers. How the NGO and MCD together secured approval for illegal markets / privatization of extortion by misleading public representatives and Supreme Court is described in an article in the NGO’s magazine that is included in our PIL pleadings and representation that led to CVC reference and is at encl.2.
- Nearly all of the very few hawker groups that this and similar NGOs claim to represent are engaging with MPISG since I mentioned, in a hawkers’ meeting the NGOs had called on 06/06/2004 to press for NDA hawker policy in name of UPA’s National Common Minimum Programme, that MPISG groups had already demanded in view of NCMP abandoning of NDA hawker policy and enforcing of statutory solutions, our NCMP-DMP note on which is at encl.3. (The NGOs are advisers to the Informal Sector Commission).
It was in this context that MPISG groups read in your letter to Hon’ble Minster a missed (on account of “bhagidaari”) opportunity arising for us from you being in the Consultative Committee as well as Standing Committee (to which memoranda from hawkers were submitted in response to Public Notice of June 2003).
In our interaction we read now cause for optimism. But we want you to know, Sir, that while we do hope for your intervention, we are writing to you mainly to deeply appreciate your initiative in approaching us. We would not have approached you and you have saved us that loss, because we sense that at the bottom of your sympathetic words and our discourteous reluctance to allow ourselves any expectations lies the same discomfort about the way things have come to be. In general, we seek not audience to make representations, but comfort zone for responsible citizens to work together with their (constitutional) representatives for the well-being of our democracy. Regardless of whether or not we find that space with you, we will remain grateful to you for your gesture.
With warm regards and best wishes,
(on behalf of MPISG, on basis of interactions with area / issue convener on 05, 06, 07, 08 and 09/01/2005)
Gita Dewan Verma, MPISG Planner
A very warm reply dated 18/01/2005 was received from the Hon'ble MP