There were only 10 responses by 12 persons to the
Public Notice dt 28.02.06 for change of land use of
16.5 hectare near Akshardham from recreational to
residential (11 hectare) and commercial/hotel (5.5
hectare) for Games Village, for which the Board for
Enquiry & Hearing held hearing at Vikas Sadan on
26.05.06.

I saw the list with names of invitees and the summary
of their responses. One had called me to say she was
unwell and would not be attending. I have checked
about the others: two were not in town and two
received the invitation only on 26 and three had not
received it till 27.

Besides myself, there was only Sameer Kher from
Wildrift Adventures (WA) who had appeared on behalf of
Amit Marks of WA who had filed a preliminary response
jointly with Harphool Singh of Belagaon and Nizamuddin
of Moolchand Basti. (WA and Belagaon have been
discussing a possible business partnership and
Belagaon and Moolchand were coordinating efforts for
lawful compliance of court orders for Pushta). WA
received the hearing invitation on 24th. As Amit had
prior business engagements that could not be
rescheduled, Sameer had been trying to contact
Harphool Singh ji and Nizamuddin ji (whose settlements
were demolished last month). For this he had also
contacted me on 25 (I am in touch with them as their
authorized representative in some RTI matters), but I
could not get across a message to them in time for the
hearing. Sameer had appeared mainly to explain the
overall interest of WA in DDA programs and to apprise
the Board that there were further developments
concerning the present response but the concerned
persons in WA were unavailable. I, too, was aware only
in general terms of specific suggestions that WA and
Belagaon wished to put forth, as these are indicated
also in the response filed by Ajit Singh ji (mpisg
convener, villages). I mentioned that before the
Board.

On, or rather around, my response I was given an
indulgent hearing. My case was simply that I had
declined hearing opportunity on my response, but had
offered clarifications on the note accompanying it. In
that I have leveled serious allegations into which I
had sought inquiry by the Board and was appearing to
clarify any specific points on which the inquiry had
found my allegations misconceived. For the rest, I had
made suggestions in the ambit of s.11A Public Notice
process (which in my view does not extend to this
proposal) and sought details of their consideration
along with intimation of notification.

Since my suggestions were for hearing outside of s.11A
process (by Rajniwas, etc) and DDA was holding hearing
under s.11A, I had two further issues: one, the
hearing was not being conducted as per Rules for s.11A
- the invitation used the term Screening-Board rather
than Board for Enquiry & Hearing and quorum was not
quite complete as TCPO chief planner had sent a
representative who is ineligible to sit on the Board;
and two, it was not clear whether the hearing was
lawful in view of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions)
Act, 2006, and the direction that MoUD had issued
under that to the DDA to incorporate in MPD-2021
suggestions of the Tejinder Khanna Committee report.

My line of argument on the TKC was: TKC had as members
two of the consultants to draft MPD-2021 (EFN Rebiero
and Sayed Shafi) and the proposal being heard is a
modification also of the draft MPD-2021 land use plan.
In pendency of MPD-2021 Public Notice the proposal for
Games Village at Akshardham was recommended by the
Standing Committee of the Parliament that has now
empowered MoUD and TKC to guide/decide MPD-2021. By
the new law DDA is duty bound to follow MoUD
directions over and above its statutory mandate and
whatever MoUD/TKC suggest directly or indirectly for
or about Games Village, therefore, will have
precedence over whatever I (or anyone else) has
suggested through the Public Notice process. The s.11A
Rules do entitle me to hearing also on the suggestions
of MoUD/TKC (the role of EFN Rebeiro and Sayed Shafi
as MPD-2021 consultants is specifically mentioned in
my note accompanying my response to the Games Village
Public Notice). But I do not know if the MoUD
direction to DDA also suspends that right of mine and
MoUD/TKC suggestions are not in public domain and TKC
representatives were also not present to present /
defend them.

Since one of my suggestions was also for steps against
propagation of mis-information / discourse outside the
ambit of Public Notice process, I also objected to
recent press statements and presentations by DDA
officials about the project. And since the Board
mentioned the 7000 plus responses to the MPD-2021
Public Notice, I pointed out the discernment
responsibilities cast upon it by s.11A Rules (that
allow it to disallow hearing on irrelevant,
inconsequential or trivial responses) and the
importance of its Enquiry role in order that its
Hearing role is not reduced to formality. I also
raised by vintage gripe about the unfairness of the
non-seriousness about quasi-judicial processes that
drives little people out into the big bad world of
MIB.

There is much to be said for the s.11A Public Notice
process from the perspective of ordinary citizens, but
the stakeholder discourse of bigwigs and bhagidaars
has marginalized it so much. The TKC is logical
outcome of the alternative participatory processes
consistently promoted by the stakeholder discourse.
And this Public Notice, and the one of 10.03.06, is a
quite a poser to all that jazz.

- gita

 


--- Gita Dewan Verma <[email protected]> wrote:

I have an invitation for hearing tomorrow of my
response to the Public Notice for land use change
for
the Games Village. Any one else has one?

This is the first hearing on a specific modification
since the one for Sultangarhi in Jan 03 and very
decent of DDA to be holding it: the Del Spl Act
empowers Maken or Reddy to, with or without
appointing
committee of pliant experts or having publicized
meetings with bigwigs or bhagidaars, issue instead
an
MoUD direction that DDA has been made duty-bound to
obey. (like Maken did that with his MLU notification
even without the Del Spl Act and with reliance
presumably on capital being que-breaking culture hub
-
to my knowledge no bigwig or bhagidaar asked for the
humbly waiting-to-be-heard public notice and other
pending matters walas to be heard first).

For Games Village (and other world class items) I
have
been suggesting since 2003 a site either elsewhere
in
NCR or, if it must be in Delhi, part of the
Safdarjang
District Park. In my response to the public notice
for
land use change near Akshardham, I had made only
process suggestions and declined hearing opportunity
in view of the question of my right to be heard
being
sub-judice in my writ petition against metroPD (and
now also in the one against the Tehkhand project).
But
I am glad for the invitation / opportunity to press
some of my suggestions in view of the Del Spl Act.

 

My response, btw:


Mr VM Bansal
Pr Commissioner cum Secretary
DDA, Vikas Sadan, INA, New Delhi - 110070

Sub: Public Notice dt 28 February 2006 for land use
change at Akshardham: Suggestions

Sir,

By the above, the Authority of the DDA has invited
objections / suggestions on a proposal for change of
land use of 16 Ha between Akshardham Temple and
river
Yamuna from 'recreational' to 'residential' and
'commercial'. The proposal is for Commonwealth Games
Village, another key for 'unlocking' the riverbed
and
is eminently objectionable. However, issuance of
Public Notice at this stage makes it impossible to
object in non-adversarial constructive manner and
without creating unseemly controversy at cost of
DDA.

While you have freely and consistently rejected my
suggestions and offers of support, I remain bound by
my plannerly duties of care to continue to make
them,
especially now that the mandate of the DDA is under
threat. I am enclosing a description of your
proposal
as seen from the perspective of my pending matters,
notably my WP(C) 6500/2005 and my (unanswered)
requests for information, made under section 4(1)(d)
of RTI Act pursuant to Authority Meeting of
19.10.2005. This is hastily written and I am at your
disposal for any clarifications. With reference to
it,
I make the following suggestions:

(a) In further processing of this Public Notice:
* Rajniwas staff (rather than DDA staff) be used
since
the scheme originated in Rajniwas (not in DDA) and
is
beyond the scope of DDA powers under s.11A
* Lt Governor personally chair the Board for Enquiry
&
Hearing, in view also of pendency of compliance of
enquiry direction in judgment dt 16.9.2002 in
WP(C)4978/2002
* Steps be taken to strictly ensure that no
mis-information is propagated / unseemly controversy
abetted by discourse outside ambit of Public Notice
process
(b) The Board for Enquiry & Hearing thoroughly
enquire
into my response / enclosed description (I decline
hearing opportunity in pendency of my WP(C)
6500/2005)

I also suggest that you do not ignore this response,
like you have all my previous Public Notice
responses,
and that you peruse both the pending matters in
context of which it is made.
 
I specifically seek intimation of notification as
soon
as issued along with full disclosure about the
consideration of my suggestions and enquiry by the
Board into my response.

Sd/-
Gita Dewan Verma, Planner

 

 

 


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