06.06.2003
PRESS RELEASE
DDA SULTANGARHI SCHEME ILLEGAL

News papers have reported, from a press-note issued by
DDA on Environment Day, the ongoing work on an ‘Urban
Design Plan with focus on environmental improvement
and regeneration‘ in Sultangarhi / Rangpuri Pahari
area west of Vasant Kunj. Some reports speak also of
‘proposed housing colonies due to come up on both
sides’ of the Sultangarhi tomb. The details seem, and
the location is certainly, the same as the ’56-hectare
scheme’ in Master Plan green belt for which Public
Notice for land use change was issued on 15.09.2002,
six months after start of construction on the infamous
mega-housing for 2000 flats, one day before final
disposal of Delhi Science Forum’s PIL (WP 4978/2002)
in which Delhi High Court found the scheme wholly
illegal and ordered it stopped and inquired into.

THE SCHEME IS BEYOND JURISDICTION OF DDA UNDER DELHI
DEVELOPMENT ACT

1.        The scheme is in J-zone. J-zone Plan has yet to be
prepared / approved by due process and Master Plan
land-use for the area is green belt. The scheme is
thus not embedded in any Zonal Plan or in Master Plan
and is, therefore, unplanned and beyond jurisdiction
of DDA.

2.        ‘Urban Design Plan’ is not a type of Plan
contemplated in Delhi Development Act and has no legal
sanctity of its own.

3.        ‘Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation’ is presumably
constituted under s.5(A), which empowers DDA to set up
Committees. However, nothing empowers such committees
to act in ways contrary to the purpose of the Act,
which is to secure development according to the Master
Plan

THE SCHEME IS CONTRARY TO MASTER PLAN GOALS FOR
ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE:

4.        The scheme is in J-zone, which is coterminous with
Delhi ridge and its periphery and with CGWA notified
ground water critical areas and protection of which
from unplanned development is crucial for the
ecological survival of Delhi and required by the
Master Plan since 1962.

5.        Master Plan provisions for heritage conservation
require DDA’s heritage interventions to be detailed
out while preparing Zonal Plans for conflict
resolution and optimality, inclusive of maximum
benefit for heritage conservation and management
interventions.

THE SCHEME IS IN VIOLATION OF ORDERS OF THE DIVISION
BENCH OF DELHI HIGH COURT:

6.        On 16.09.02 High Court ordered the work stopped.
Full-scale work on the mega-housing continued for 2
months. Removal of illegally excavated material
sporadically continues even now and the mega-housing
contractors are currently using the site for housing
workers from their other projects. The wall mentioned
in news reports was constructed after the court order,
while Public Notice process is underway. Repeated
complaints to Police and DDA, even vigilance
complaints to DDA, about work on the site, including
on the wall, despite court orders have been to no
avail.

7.        The Court had also directed an inquiry. Repeated
requests seeking information about status of the same
have not returned any response. DDA Chairman was
quoted in a news report saying that no inquiry was
necessary and the same had been conveyed to court.
Clarifications sought about these remarks, also, were
not received.

THE SCHEME IS IN CONTEMPT OF DUE PROCESS OF PUBLIC
NOTICE

8.        An unprecedented 1700 objections were filed in
response to the Public Notice, mostly from the 50-year
old settlements of Rangpuri Pahari and the 400-years
old Mahipalpur Village, on grounds of infringement of
Master Plan entitlements to land, water, environmental
protection and heritage conservation. These only
reiterated issues that citizens had already been
raising in their requests, since 2000, for development
strictly according to Plan. A ‘public hearing’ –
through a dozen individual interviews – was held on
27.01.2003. A joint report was sent by those heard.
Repeated requests’ for DDA’s report have returned no
response.

9.        An urgent request for a meeting with DDA officials,
in continuation of a number of recent requests for the
same in view of DDA activities in disregard of the
Master Plan and court directions and due process of
law, including issuing of a tender notice on
26.05.2003 for ‘Sultangarhi Conservation Scheme’, has
not been answered today. And there have been strong
rumours of action against those who have been opposing
the illegal scheme. Demolition/eviction action has
already been taken against others opposing other
instances of profiteering on public land by DDA here,
including those who have staked in another court
matter claim under the Master Plan to the site
illegally occupied by the now infamous Sahara
restaurant.

-------------------------------------------------

We request media help for our 3-year long efforts to
stop this illegal scheme which will have catastrophic
consequences for Delhi’s water crisis, will infringe
on area residents’ Plan entitlements and is, in any
case, condemnable for its brazen disregard of process
of law and sustained public effort to seek (only) that
DDA confine its actions within the boundaries of its
statutory mandate and not infringe citizens’
entitlements that it is duty-bound to safeguard and
implement.

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WE INVITE YOU TO VISIT THE SITE WITH US at your
convenience.
WE INVITE YOU TO A MEETING ON WATER (in an on-going
series on gearing-up for Master Plan 2021 Public
Notice) AT 6:30PM ON 09.06.2003 AT IIC, at which we
plan to discuss this case.

For clarification / information, mail to
[email protected]


On behalf of

MASTER PLAN IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT GROUP
(synergy platform of citizens’ groups engaging on
securing development according to the Master Plan,
through which over 1700 objections were filed in
response to Public Notice and whose constituents have
been opposing the scheme since 2000 and non-compliance
of court orders since 2002. see
http://www.delhiscienceforum.org/dmp2021/mpisg/main.htm)

DELHI SCIENCE FORUM
(non-profit Public Interest Organisation engaging on
issues relating to science policy and science
popularization, petitioner in WP 4978/2002 by which
the illegal scheme was stopped by Delhi High Court.
see: http://www.delhiscienceforum.org; PIL at
http://www.delhiscienceforum.org/other9.html;
judgement at
http://www.delhiscienceforum.org/other12.html)

YOUNG URBAN DEVELOPMENT PROFESSIONALS’ FORUM
(group of young planners and professionals in allied
disciplines, gearing up to engage on Delhi Master Plan
2021 Public Notice with citizens’ groups, so as to be
able to effectively discharge their responsibilities
as professional custodians of the Master Plan in
coming years)

 

 


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