Comment on report of consultation of 25/07/03

Letter of 10/09/2003 about mis-reporting, omissions, etc, in the report of the proceedings of the MCD-ActionAid consultation of 25/07/2003 about Night Shelter

Mr Amod K Kanth

Vice Chairperson,

Joint Apex Committee for the Improvement of Night Shelters and facilities for Street Children

MCD Resettlement & Planning Centre, Core 6A, India Habitat Center, Lodhi Road, N Delhi – 110003

Sub: Detailed report on consultation of 25th July 2003

Dear Mr Kanth,

Thank you for a copy of the report under reference. This is to seek some information and make certain clarifications and one request.

First, minor information seeking:

  • The report refers (p.1) to a PIL that led to Joint Apex Committee. I would be grateful for details of the same, especially the mandate of JAC as derived from it, since the consultation report refers to several issues, a number of them of interest to my clients and me.
  • The report says (p.2) that the consultation “was organized to provide a platform for the planners [and others]”, but the list of participants does not clarify who are planners. I would be grateful for information about that, since I receive more consultancy requests than I can service and am always on the lookout for planners interested in these issues to refer prospective clients to.

Next, small clarifications about the report text:

  1. The summary of address by Mr N K Agarwal, Addnl. Commissioner, Planning-II, DDA (p.5) does not mention that Mr Agarwal clarified the Master Plan does not in any way restrict night shelter facilities and that while recommendations would most certainly be considered, modifications may not be necessary at all. It was in this context I think that he mentioned minimum space standard of 800 sqm for each night shelter, which he said could be revised but any way does not preclude larger shelters, etc. The text seems to suggest that 800 sqm is all that the statutory Delhi Master Plan has set aside for Delhi’s homeless and marginalised, which is grossly untrue.
  2. The account of the remarks by Mr Shekhar Dey of DDA about in-situ slum redevelopment on lines of Mumbai (p.7-8) does not mention that the remark, unrelated to night shelters, was made as clarification in response to an erroneous reference to DDA in CM’s address and I think suggests an official position even as the speaker made it clear that the option is only under consideration.
  3. The brief reference (p.7) to the remark of students from School of Planning and Architecture does not capture the point they made, namely, that time-share be considered as an alternative to dedicated space for temporary uses since the latter option is wasteful of spatial resources and fraught with possibilities of mis-management, misuse, etc.
  4. The remark (also p.7) about not charity but settled Master Plan entitlements (not just "equal citizenship") was made not by students but by myself, with reference to certain remarks and suggestions already made (included in recommendations now) to preface my detailed observations to point out problems, including legal, with those and to make out, instead, a case for police-led management of night shelters – not only for safety of those sheltered but for a range of systemic reasons. My plannerly observations are not included in the report.

Lastly, the "participants’ list", I think, lists, besides invitees, only those who "registered" (including, as in my case, only since background material was not available in any other way). I neither received formal invitation to participate as planner nor are the views that I did express as one at the consultation included in its report. Describing me as "participant" is, therefore, erroneous. Without going into my professional reasons for the same, I request, rather insist on, rectification of this error and information about when and how this is done.

Thanking you, Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner


for information (and with apologies in case of errors in my interpretation of remarks made)

  • Mr N.K.Agarwal, Addnl. Commissioner, Planning-II, DDA, Vikas Sadan, N Delhi (w.r.t #1 above)
  • Mr Shekhar Dey, Engineer, DDA, Vikas Sadan, INA, N Delhi (w.r.t #2 above)
  • Ms Poonam Prakash, School of Planning and Architecture, ITO, N Delhi (w.r.t #3 above)

[also with request for confirmation of receipt since I have not verified if these addresses are current]