Response to Public Notice; Gita Dewan Verma


The above Public Notice proposes modification of Master Plan land use of 6.0 ha at Shastri Park Metro Depot in the riverbed to ‘Commercial (IT Park)’. The text suggests this development is proposed, but the Public Notice is, in fact, for “regularization” of a willful project illegally being constructed since last year. As a Planner I object to this on grounds now of pending prior objections, etc, apropos the following:

  1. This project / Public Notice is contrary to development law since s.11A for Delhi Master Plan (DMP) modification cannot be used in conflict with (besides basic framework of DMP, which does not permit IT SEZ on riverbed) statutory processes for either DMP revision / Zonal Plan preparation (requiring 90 day Public Notice) or other DMP modifications. This s.11A Public Notice is precluded by:
    • (a) Ongoing preparation of DMP-2021 u/s.7 and riverbed ZDP u/s.8 (Pending: disposal of response to advertisements inviting views on DMP-2021 ‘guidelines’1 and suggestion for ZDP, in ambit of s.10, of riverbed cultivation / community-owned eco-visitation2 after clearing encroachments)
    • (b) Prior s.11A Public Notices pertaining to the same site / project, viz, of:
      • December 2002 for Shastri Park for change of land use to transportation, not commercial or residential that DMRC has developed as per instant Notice (Pending: disposal of objection3
      • April 2004 for Metro Property Development restricting sites to 3 Ha, ie, not 6 Ha (Pending: disposal of objection / suggestion for action as per law4 against development at Metro Depot).
  2. This project / Public Notice is contrary to environmental law in terms of CGWA notification of riverbed for protected aquifers for drinking water, which precludes use of ground water for construction, etc, and of EIA notification, as amended in July 2004, requiring for IT Park (with project cost of just one of three blocks estimated as 73 crores) environmental clearance (Pending: Clarification about EIA of IT Park, sought from MoEF on 06.09.045)
  3. This project / Public Notice is unmindful of court orders including the following:
    • (a) High Court order of 16.09.2002 quashing 56 Ha Sultangarhi scheme in DMP green belt / ridge and directing inquiry into start without s.11A DMP modification so that authorities do not perpetuate identical illegalities, as mark the IT Park project (Pending: compliance of court order in terms of inquiry, repeatedly requested6 since response to s.11A Public Notice of September 2002)
    • (b) High Court order of 03.03.2003 for clearance of all riverbed encroachments, which is what IT Park is in terms of DMP / DD Act (Pending: action against construction at Shastri Park, repeatedly requested since representation of 07.03.037, and assessment of compliance as per decision of 03.01.04, repeatedly requested since May 2004)
    • (c) Supreme Court notice of 2004 in PIL against Akshardham, for committee for river and apropos non conforming use in matter of industries (Pending: response on suggestion of 12.08.04 for river committee8 to consider DMP solutions as starting point and also prior objections, suggestions, etc, apropos ongoing riverbed ‘projects’, suggestion to shift Games Village, IT Park etc, to Safdarjang, etc9)
  4. This project / Public Notice is unmindful of Parliamentary Standing Committee examining functioning of DDA pursuant to the DDA scam exposed by CBI in 2003 that had invited public views vide notice of 22.06.03 (Pending: hearing of responses, including apropos riverbed violations and on request made subsequent to visit by the Committee to Metro sites in January 200410)
  5. This project / Public Notice is unmindful of Presidential instructions for appropriate action on:
    • Communication about DMP violations, including on riverbed, with reference to propaganda against courts, planning law and professions, etc, at NGO event at WSF-2004 and metro visit by Parliamentary Committee, forwarded to Secretary MoUD as per letter of 11.02.04 (Pending: appropriate action, while said NGOs held last week a Capital event, also to ‘protest’ Pushta11, etc)
    • Communication about award by Indian Building Congress (of which Secretary MoUD is patron, DDA Commissioner Planning a Vice President, etc), given in June 2004 through President of India, to DMP violating Delhi Secretariat, etc, inclusive of request for compliance of court order of 2002 for inquiry into DMP violating project and for assessment of compliance of order of 2003 for riverbed encroachments, forwarded to Secretary MoUD as per letter of 18.06.04 (Pending: appropriate action12, while co-awardee who was Commissioner Planning when DMP-2001 was prepared and is now director of AMDA has claimed ignorance about non-conformity of Delhi Government Secretariat in his letter in the matter to Secretary MoUD, also AMDA patron)
  6. This project / Public Notice by which Central Government proposes to legitimize it belies National Common Minimum Programme promises. President’s interpretation of the verdict of the people as one for restoration of rule of law and PM’s interpretation of NCMP objectives in terms of equity and efficiency lend to NCMP commitments convergent with development planning law weight of ‘political will’. NCMP-DMP convergence opportunities in key areas of DMP are spelled out in notes sent to authorities. On the heels of a full range of inertial initiatives wasting these opportunities, a small Public Notice to “regularize” an IT SEZ on the riverbed in gross violation of DMP belies NCMP promises, especially when juxtaposed with, for instance, the following:
    • (a) closure of non-conforming industries and continuing failure of metro development to account for informal sector as per DMP – despite NCMP promises for SSI, informal sector, employment, etc
    • (b) Pushta clearance that started on 13.02.04 (on 05.02.04 CM visited and appreciated work on the IT Park) and continues – despite NCMP promises for social housing, poor, cultivators, etc
    • (c) deaths of children evicted to Bawana, besides curtailment of their right to education in DMP common school system – despite NCMP promises for education and apropos the future
    • (d) irrelevant references to river pollution apropos non-conforming units, etc, while riverbed ground water is illegally used for illegal building – despite NCMP promises for environment, water, etc
    • (e) Left leaders demanding at rally of 12.10.04 stopping of action against non-conforming industries by state government (without reference action against non-conformity being central government function or Delhi government Secretariat on riverbed being non-conforming) and ordinance to regularize (perhaps unaware of the simple devices in use for this by the central government that could fall without their support) – despite NCMP implicit promise of ‘political will’ in UPA and Left to restore lawful equitable development and not condone / “regularize” inequity and willfulness.

(Pending: comment on NCMP-DMP notes13, s.11A suggestion for DMP solution for industries, additions to s.11A response on Metro property development of suggestion for DMP space for industries / informal sector, CVC letter to GNCT / PMO about DMP space for hawkers, application u/s.41(3) to MoUD to examine legality / propriety of DDA decision to participate in Pushta clearance, CVC / NAC / President Secretariat letters forwarding communication about deaths in Bawana, requests to DDA Commissioner Planning to inform Left, etc, of DMP solutions for industries / jurisdiction issues about closure / non-conformity of Delhi Government Secretariat, etc)

The riverbed and ridge are DMP zones of maximum plannerly responsibility for trans-generational equity and not open to willfulness. The development ‘proposed’ vide Public Notice of 18.09.04 is ongoing riverbed encroachment attracting s.30 demolition and s.29 penalties, not s.11A DMP modification. Public Notice for its “regularization” cannot, in any case, be considered a s.11A instrument since it subverts DMP entitlements, solutions and processes (and by extension, the purpose of the DD Act under which it is issued) and, in view of pending disposal of prior objections / suggestions, etc, also demonstrates subversion of options for redress against such subversion.

I suggest scrutiny u/s.41(3) of legality and propriety of DDA decision to publish this Public Notice and that it be withdrawn and re-issued only after prior objections, etc, have been disposed off and action u/s.29 and 30 taken to restore the site to DMP-2001 land use (‘Agriculture and Water Body’) from which change of land use for it to ‘Commercial (IT Park)’ is “proposed” in it.

Yours sincerely

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner

  • 1. Delhi Master Plan / Guidelines - response Guidelines to substitute lawful plan revision
  • 2. Sub: Cutivators’ settlements on Yamuna riverbed – village-based eco-tourism opportunities
  • 3. Public Notice of December 2002
  • 4. Public Notice of April 2004
    Proposal to modify dmp to, in effect, release land along the entire metro corridore from the purview of land use controls
  • 5. Sub: EIA of “popular” illegal projects in Delhi ridge / riverbed in context of national environment policy
  • 6. Letter for court-ordered inquiry, 21.07.04
    MPISG letter to g, with reference to news report about plans for Sultangarhi scheme, to request compliance of court order of 16.09.02 for inquiry, information of outcome of Public Notice by which 1700 families responded to object and directions against Malls/Park scheme, enclosing letter to CEC
  • 7. source:
  • 8. Court appointed committee for river
  • 9. Safdarjang Airport Area Development
    Instead of District Park proposed in the Master Plan since 1962, the site has exclusive uses that can be shifted. Airport / flying club [1] were to shift to International airport as per Plan. Golf course / polo ground [2] and Gymkhana [3] activities have better sites at, respectively, Golf Club near Oberoi hotel, Oberoi farm polo ground beyond Airport and facilities at IHC. Santushti / Sanskriti [4] should anyway have come up on planned shopping / school sites.
  • 10. source:
  • 11. source:
  • 12. Indian Building Congress Awards, June 2004
    A news item on (only) one newkerala.com1 announced in first week of June 2004) that President of India is to honour architects of three complexes that Indian Builders Congress selected out of all the buildings constructed in the country last year for its annual awards for excellence, instituted to encourage new talent and innovativeness among architects. Two of the three (Delhi Government Secretariat and Garden of Five Senses) involve illegalities in terms of planning law and the third raises at least questions about professional ethics.
  • 13. National Common Minimum Programme, Delhi Master Plan Revision Monitor
    A monitor to identify and engage on opportunities arising from the convergence between Delhi Master Plan (DMP) entitlements and solutions and commitments of the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) adopted by a new government in May 2004 (suspended in October 2004, after NCMP-DMP subversion by inertial initiatives of opportunities for heritage, housing, manufacturing, commerce, facilities)