My attention has been drawn to an item about views of
experts in context of Delhi demolitions, with the
impression that they are speaking for or like mpisg
(master plan implementation support group, synergy
platform for professionally informed citizens efforts
on which thousands have engaged since 2000). This is
in Hardnews, *South Asian partner of the eminent
French monthly Le Monde Diplomatique*:
As mpisg planner, I clarify that those quoted are not
speaking for mpisg and mpisg disagrees with their

Professor Kavas Kapadia, HoD, Urban Planning, SPA
Delhi: Delhi Master Plan was a landmark in every sense
of the word, and is followed by several smaller
cities. What fails the people is the
non-implementation of it.

mpisg: mpd IS landmark document of statutory solutions
and entitlements. What fails us is the failure of
experts to see that they are not free to suggest these
can be downsized or abandoned because they have not
been implemented. We are also aggrieved by failure of
professional academia to even notice mpisg.    

SS Shafi, planning for the city since establishment of
DDA: DDA has emerged as the largest real estate agency
in the world, with over 50,000 acres of prime
metropolitan land at its disposal.

mpisg: DDA is land development agency by statute.
Public land and the Fund built on it are city
resources vested in DDA for sole mandate of mpd.
Describing DDA as *real estate agency* as an affront
to the egalitarian mpd.

[with quote from Shafi]: DDA is administered by the
central government and is answerable only to
Parliament. Its monopoly, without any popular control,
over land, and the lack of transparency in its
functioning are its fatal flaws.

mpisg: DDA is administered by its Authority, on which
all tiers of government and broad sections of civil
society are duly represented. Central Govt exercises
control because of constitutional provisions for
Delhi. Lack of transparency is not exceptional. The
fatal flaw is that the Act did not contemplate a
situation in which local bodies, Delhi Govt, MoUD and
Rajniwas would collude to facilitate market control
under garb of *popular-control* on demands by
civil-society collaborators and without protest by
planners. Lack of transparency in the collusion is

[with quote from Shafi]: Every Master Plan is based on
the study and research by the DDA. However when it is
asked to make those reports public, it refuses on the
grounds of not being in public interest

mpisg: Set procedures for MPD preparation and revision
are the basis of work-studies. The Authority is
empowered to enrol outside experts and dozens
(including NGO-folk) are named in draft MPD-2021.
Nothing prevents them from disclosing details (though
apprehensions about data misuse are not without
basis). But there is no public interest claim on
work-studies, as citizens do not need them to respond
to Public Notices (the only participation process
provided for).

Dunu Roy, Hazard Centre, NGO serving interests of
urban poor: DDA can then wink at malpractices
including regularisation of unauthorised housing
colonies, grant of approval for building plan
alterations and land use pattern (converting
residential areas into industrial or commercial zones)
to serve the interests of a *very strong mafia which
encompasses the political leadership, landowners,
affluent sections and the middle classes, and the real
estate sharks*

mpisg: DDA cannot alter land use, etc, without due
process inclusive of Public Notice. All mafia rely on
subversion of that (Dunu Roy is learned to have even
tried to get on to the Board for MPD-2021 Public
Notice) and on alternative stakeholder-discourse to
project their interests as demands of people (via
NGOs). mpisg groups, especially the poor, are most
aggrieved by all this.

Dunu Roy, Hazard Centre, NGO: In Almitra Patel v.
Union of India (February 2001), the Supreme Court
deemed that *rewarding an encroacher on public land
with a free alternative site is like rewarding a
pickpocket*. However, the court did not seem to take
cognisance of the fact that the failure of government
agencies to provide authorised land and housing...
*The court has punished the errors of commission, but
the errors of omission are not being prosecuted,*
insists Roy.

mpisg: The pickpocket remark was made in PIL on
garbage. It was made central to slum discourse by
frequent citation, not in court orders but by NGOs.
(This was the judgment proxy-burned at WSF-04, at
poverty-event of NGO coalition, a member of which
Laura Bush visited yesterday). Roy-insistence about
prosecuting omissions was also made on NDTV
(we-the-people episode for the MG mall people, Feb
06). But NGO propaganda and PIL for alternatives
favours non-implementation and they never cite court
matters that seek or orders that direct rectification
of omissions.

Survey by Sajha Manch, coalition of NGOs: The price of
land set aside for the economically weaker sections
(EWS) has gone up by almost 10 times in the last

mpisg: This cannot be. That no land has been set aside
for EWS according to Plan since 1990 stands admitted
(pursuant to mpisg efforts).

Survey by Hazard Centre, NGO: The population of the
low income and economically weaker section (EWS) in
the city is much larger then the middle income group
and the high income group. They need more houses. Even
the ones meant for them are grabbed by the other
income groups. As a result LIG is occupied by the
middle-income group and Janta flats by the low income
group. According to a survey conducted by the Hazard
Centre, 80 per cent of the surveyed LIG was occupied
by the people from the middle-income group. The EWS
are pushed to the periphery.  What option do they
have? Grab the government land ...

mpisg: our surveys found comparable population of
LIG/EWS and MIG/HIG in line with plan provisions and
that Janta flats are either amalgamated or used for
non-residential purposes. Janta flats are defunct and
illegal and ascribing govt-land grabbing to their
shortage advances NGO-builder slum flats - announced
in 2002 after meeting of Ananth Kumar and VP Singh and
NGOs and being pushed under JNNURM with subterfuge
including, in Delhi, efforts to deflect court orders
against building permit violations to *encroachments
on govt land*.

[hardnews]: The highhandedness of the government had
once again come in glaring light when 30,000 families
in Yamuna Pushta area were evicted and 40 hectares of
land was released from their possession. The same
government allotted 60 hectares of the land for the
construction of the Akshardham temple.

mpisg: Roy also said so on NDTV in Feb 06. Pushta
reference is to 2004. Akshardham land use change is
older, also than mpisg and we do not know how it
sailed through. But we can tell about metro IT Park on
riverbed (for which Pushta was evicted then and was
about to be evicted in Jan 06). mpisg had engaged,
also from Pushta, on IT Park Public Notice of sep 04
(when pro-poor NGOs were busy celebrating their
habitat day by protesting eviction of a coalition NGOs
by NDMC). NGOs harp on Akshardham but never objected
to IT Park, maybe because it is secular.

[hardnews]: When Supreme Court shut down 70,000
industrial units in the city few years back,
reportedly it did not know the fact that the DDA
failed to allocate land to all industrial units and
that only land for 30,000 units was provided,
rendering the others non-conforming. The lasting myth
is that industrial units were shut down under the apex
courts green banner. The fact remains that the court
struck down on grounds of non-conforming. It, on its
own, changed the charge against the affected units
from being polluting to being non-conforming. What can
the recent demolitions do about this?

mpisg: we could tell about lasting-myth and
myth-in-making about what the court did and also
explain why credit for sparing land meant for
industries must go to anti-Plan propaganda in 2000
(chronicled in my book in chapter titled
Great-Terrain-Robbery) and subversion in 2004 of
hard-won Public Notice (on which mpisg had engaged).
But the hardnews question says enough. We, too, ask:
what, pray, can recent demolitions - by High Court
orders against building permit violations - do about
anything else? About capital obfuscators driven to
ride any old agenda on any new bulldozer we suggest
asking: what are pro-poor NGOs? what hardnews does
their soft-peddling make? why are they not cheering
court orders for demolitions of big-fish violations?
why are they always so eager to invite attention to
purported violations by their purported
constituencies? were they with the people saying
go-back-Bush while lady Laura was visiting one of
their coalition NGOs?  


I am impelled to issue clarification from pro-Plan
synergy platform of ordinary-citizen clients and
friends to whom I provide ordinary-planner services
because Kavas and Shafi saab are quoted in company of
anti-Plan advocacy NGOs as planners with authority and
seniority. On MPD neither they nor I speak for the
profession and neither they nor NGOs speak for all
*people*. I speak from insights from efforts of
clients who speak for themselves by due processes. We
wonder which *people* the NGO-and-planners discourse
speaks for and what empowers it to keep speaking
without ever clarifying it does not speak for us. I
also wonder why Kavas and Shafi saab lent their names
to this hardnews, but am not inclined to ask because I
speak now not as their former-student, but for clients
and friends as their mpisg planner.  

Gita Dewan Verma, MPISG Planner