Letter, Public Notice; Objection (23/03/2003)
Public Notice for land acquisition for ‘resettlement of JJ clusters’ in Bhalaswa, Jahangirpuri (No. F 11(24)/ 98/ LBD/ LA/ 19349, dated 4/3/2003 in Hindustan, 07.03.2003, p.7): Objection
Secretary, MoUD, GoI
Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi – 110011
Sub: Public Notice for land acquisition for ‘resettlement of JJ clusters’ in Bhalaswa, Jahangirpuri (No. F 11(24)/ 98/ LBD/ LA/ 19349, dated 4/3/2003 in Hindustan, 07.03.2003, p.7): Objection
Ref: My letters of 10th March 2003 and 2nd March 2003
In my letter of 10.03.03 I had sought clarification about legality of the above-mentioned Notice. I have not heard in response and now wish to place on record my objection to it on the following grounds.
- Public Notice for land acquisition for slum resettlement is tantamount to frustrating process of law as the issue of legality of slum resettlement is sub-judice
- On 29.11.02 Delhi High Court struck down Delhi’s slum resettlement policy for having no legal basis. I understand GoI has filed an SLP and on 19.02.03 Supreme Court allowed it to proceed with the policy without allotments and on 03.03.03 also allowed allotments. However, the Court has not quite permitted fresh land acquisition for slum resettlement, nor has the issue of its legality been settled in the SLP.
- Legality of slum resettlement schemes also remains challenged in Delhi High Court in WP 5007 & 5009 / 2002, in which DDA has not filed reply pursuant to orders of 16.08.02, 21.08.02 and 10.12.02 despite several representations to DDA and MoUD.
- The Public Notice for land acquisition for slum resettlement is contrary to imperatives assessed and announced by Union Government, Delhi Government and MCD
- Union Urban Development Minister, in November 2002, had called for discontinuation of slum resettlement and announced in-situ free flats instead. DDA’s notice of 10.12.02 inviting NGO’s to build slum tenements and its letter of 05.02.03 suggest implementation of this approach.
- Delhi government has been advocating in-situ flats with corporate partners for slum dwellers. That it is not in favour of resettlement is evident from public statements as well as the fact that it has not approached the court about the November order.
- MCD, likewise, has also not approached the court and was, moreover, the first to call for a review of slum resettlement last year following a visit by MCD Commissioner to, incidentally, Bhalaswa Jahangirpuri (‘Slum relocation policy review sought’, The Hindu, 04.09.02).
- The Public Notice is illegal as the purpose of acquisition is violative of the Master Plan and government is not empowered to acquire private land for illegal development
- Sub-standard development violative of Plan provisions for minimum dwelling sizes, maximum densities and integration of EWS housing all over the city is not justifiable even on pretext of ‘resettlement’ as the Plan specifically cautions against such development. Sub-standard development, in effect, amounts to deliberate misuse of public land and resources. Public land acquisition for such purpose is objectionable.
- ‘Resettlement’ is itself objectionable as slum population counted by Census 2001 is consistent with backlog on Master Plan targets of 4 lakh EWS plots and 49000 slum-housing units. Resettlement in lieu of housing is not contemplated by the Plan, is contrary to policy objectives of socialisation of land through public acquisition and reduces DDA from public authority mandated for development in widest public interest to developer of only profitable schemes on public land. Public land acquisition in furtherance of suchlike is objectionable.
I am writing to you because this Notice is a small part in a larger issue that only MoUD can resolve. I reiterate the contents of my letter of 02.03.03 and request response. I reiterate especially my request to GoI to place in court full facts of Plan provisions for EWS housing and implementation thereof.
I also seek to know, in view of #2 above, which authority has sought this acquisition and reiterate my request that public be told about questions about its purpose to facilitate informed response to the Notice. I am copying this as formal objection to Land Acquisition Collector (NW).
Gita Dewan Verma
cc: (as formal objection in response to Public Notice mentioned above)
Land Acquisition Collector (NW), Office of Deputy Commissioner (NW), Village Kanjhawala, Delhi – 110081