on behalf of Gita Dewan Verma
------------------------------------------------------
Service providers / Minister's Plan in disregard of Master Plan Gita Dewan
Verma / Planner / 27.01.03

 

On 22.01.03 newspapers reported that Union Urban Development Minister
Ananth Kumar has announced MoUD's decision to make 15% housing for service
providers in all new cooperative housing societies mandatory. The
societies will have to accommodate within their compounds their service
providers' accommodation either in the form of separate service blocks or
as servant quarters attached to each apartment. (The reports are at the
end).

This announcement, of course, is contrary to what was reported by Asian
Age on 20.01.03 as the low-income housing proposal in Master Plan 2021 as
presented to MoUD. DDA, envisaging 'a clean metropolitan look for the
city' upon the suggestion of the LG and on lines of Kuala Lumpur, proposes
housing for the poor only near industrial areas, in flatted development
through NGOs, etc.

The two back-to-back announcements are yet another example of how DDA/MoUD
have made madness out of sense by completely disregarding the Master Plan
as well as mandatory process for making modifications to it. The Act
requires civic survey and the Plan monitoring basis for considering any
modification. But DDA, instead of standing firm on planning data, is
swinging between opinions of the LG and the Minister about who live in
slums and where do they work. Making a Plan modification requires due
process, inclusive of Public Notice to invite public scrutiny and comment.
But our LG and Minister seem to think they are quite free to inflict,
simply by calling a press conference, anything on us without so much as a
by your leave.

Our LG, although he is DDA chairman, seems not to realise that DDA is
mandated only to revise the Delhi Master Plan, not to fit in radical
departure from it, simply on the suggestions of its boss, some Kuala
Lumpur blueprint on Delhi. And our Minister seems unshakeable in his
curious belief that Delhi's Plan is meant only to be modified, not
implemented. (I do not recollect a single Plan implementation announcement
in recent times). And, despite sustained letter writing, I have failed to
convince him and a series of Secretaries that the Plan has, clearly stated
on page 6, provisions that unambiguously convey in simple and lucid
English that the city?s poor are to be housed in a particular planned way.

More out of habit than anything else I have written to my Minister to
point that his 15% 'policy' in violation of the Plan and disregard of land
policy appears designed to 'steal' land from the kitty of the poor at the
cost of entitlements of all in benefits of planned development, as
follows:

(a) The Plan stipulates 25% housing for EWS/service providers, based on
class profile in the city, borne out by census data that shows poor/slum
families are as anticipated by the Plan. A 'policy' for a lower percentage
downsizes statutory entitlements of the poor in public land.

(b)The Plan requires ensuring EWS housing percentage at level of 1 lakh
population to optimise advantages of integration while permitting the
degree of segregation desired by communities of different classes. A
'policy' of integration at plot/project level downsizes entitlements of
all to class-conflict-free neighbourhoods. (And, by [his] logic, roofs in
DDA flats should be used for housing the poor, which conflicts with [his]
simultaneous 'policy' for top-floor DDA flats!)

(c) Delhi's land policy, through which public land was vested in
government only for development according to Plan, requires cross-subsidy
benefits to be created at zonal/city-level, not at the level of each
housing project. 'Gain' from your 'policy' will accrue not to citizens
(either poor or rich) but in terms of sparing land meant for low-income
housing under the Plan for other uses.

 

 

----News reports----

 

22.01.03: Express Newsline

Endless Ananth, says more sops coming in 3 wks

Express News Service

New Delhi, January 21: UNION Minister for Urban Development Ananth Kumar
today served Delhi another platter of populist measures. He said the
Ministry had decided to make mandatory 15 per cent built-in area for
''service providers'' in all new group-housing societies. Kumar promised
to follow this, in three weeks, with implementation of the V.K. Malhotra
Committee's report as demanded by BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana. The
recommendations include partial commercial activity in residential areas
and change of industrial land from leasehold to freehold. Speaking to
mediapersons, Kumar said the new group-housing societies will have to
provide space for domestic helps, watchmen and other service providers
within their apartment compound. This will ease the relocation of slums,
one of the biggest problems in the Capital. The Minister's proposal is
based on the premise that most slum-dwellers are employed as service
providers. ''Relocating people is not the answer,'' he said, pointing out
that at least 40 per cent of Mumbai's population, including policemen and
teachers, lives in slums. Yesterday, the Urban Development Minister had
allowed residents of DDA flats increased Floor Area Ratio and legalised
seven alterations in their apartments. The alterations were removed by
former minister Jagmohan after the Gujarat quake. Kumar today said:
''There has been a shift of developmental policy since I came.''
Addressing a group of small industrialists today, Khurana said all his
proposals had been accepted by Kumar's Ministry. The Ministry, in
February, will regularise 24 industrial areas in the Capital. The
withdrawal of the leasehold system in industrial areas is coming soon. The
Urban Development Ministry and the Union Cabinet had approved it and a
notification would be issued, he said. The measures are part of Kumar's
election package. Assembly polls are due this year and the BJP is pushing
populist measures through its government at the Centre. The Congress has
not reacted as yet

22.01.03: Hindustan Times (Front-page)

Give space to maintenance staff, housing societies told

Soni Sangwan

(New Delhi, January 21) A day after allowing 15 per cent extra covered
area in DDA flats, Union Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar said
group housing societies would have to give 15 per cent of the built-up
area for service-providers. "Town planners have never accounted for the
service providers and that is why we have slums all over. If we relocate
all service-providers - the domestic help, the dhobis, the vegetable
vendors - to Narela, there will be chaos. There is a need for situational
rehabilitation," Kumar said. The minister has directed that group housing
societies make adequate arrangements for service providers within their
complexes. "They will have to give 15 per cent of the built-up area for
service providers either as separate service blocks or through servant
quarters attached to each apartment or flat," he said. Kumar emphasised
that his agenda is construction. "There is a shift in the development
policy. Relocation is not the answer. We are for in situ betterment of
life and that is why we have accepted the recommendations of the Malhotra
committee report (which recommends) increasing the covered areas in DDA
flats." Kumar denied political motivation behind Monday's decisions.
Sources said a large number of property-owners would benefit. Kumar also
said more benefits for DDA flat-owners would be announced soon.