Sub: Objection to MoUD committee for slums / NCMP-DMP imperatives for housing for the poor, ridge and riverbed and intervention for stopping imminent demolition

Dear Mr Jain,

Firstly, this is to place on record objection to above-mentioned ‘committee’ in terms of the following:

    1. The committee’s task (‘Master Plan to make the Capital slum-free in the next five years’) has no basis in robust planning principles / techniques. A ‘comprehensive Master Plan’ cannot be prepared separately for each DMP objectives and slum-freedom (as distinct from EWS housing) is not a bonafide objective. The ‘possibilities’ – resettlement, in-situ options, etc – that the committee is to ‘explore’ are unworthy of any special consideration or further benefit of doubt as years of experiments have not thrown up impact evidence in their support.
    2. The committee and its task are in conflict with, law. Low income housing, key purpose of DMP / land policy, is not open to planning outside the ambit of DMP processes. The committee’s task is in conflict with s.10 process for making plans and DMP provisions for monitoring / review that strengthen s.11A. s.41 governing central control does not mention committees, whereas s.5A governing their constitution puts them in Authority jurisdiction. Like ‘DMP guidelines’, ‘committee’ for regularizing industries, etc, this ‘committee’ amounts to interference in DMP processes.
    3. The committee’s task supports violations in disregard of Court orders and NCMP pledge. The committee is to explore ‘in terms of existing policy’ that High Court quashed in 2002 and Supreme Court has not allowed in SLP ‘possibilities’ in contravention of DMP and consonant with ‘DMP guidelines’ that Supreme Court has made adverse remarks about. This is also contrary to the new government’s mandate that both President and Prime Minister have noted is in support of rule of law and equity and also of NCMP pledge of accountability and responsibility.
    4. The composition of the committee inspires no confidence and is cause for genuine apprehension vis-à-vis solutions for slums. The Committee comprises bureaucrats, ex-officio, which is not the nature of a bonafide committee on any area of multi-disciplinary expertise (which housing for the poor indisputably is) and nearly all its members have demonstrated prejudices against DMP and in favour of ‘DMP guidelines’, etc.
    5. Please be reminded that ‘possibilities’ being ‘explored’ by the ‘committee’ are subject of substantive objections by citizens in slum / resettlement areas and elsewhere in responses to LAA s.4 and DD Act s.11A Public Notices, representations when mandatory Public Notices were not issued or ‘comments’ were informally invited (as on ‘DMP guidelines’), matters before court and submissions before Standing Parliamentary Committee. MoUD ‘committee’ is competent neither to ‘settle’ these objections nor to pre-empt their consideration by due process.

As Commissioner (Planning) you have accepted to be Member Secretary of such committee while you / DDA have not granted citizens’ requests for discussions within ambit of DMP. This calls for clarification in both professional and public spheres, especially in view of larger context implications, such as spelled out in the enclosed note, and I request you to volunteer this clarification.

I also request you to personally ensure imminent, perhaps on 7 July, demolition in Lalkhet (p.7 onwards in the enclosed note) is not allowed, since as a planner you know as well as I that it is the so-called ‘Aravali Biodiversity Park’ that is ‘encroachment’ on the site in terms of DMP and perhaps also that DDA counsel conceded s.11A violation by it in open court in WP 8523/2003. I request urgent communication to Vasant Kunj PS w.r.t enclosed complaint of 02.07.04, with copy of the same to me for use by citizens and hope you will also consider this necessary as a planner who happens to be DDA Commissioner (Planning).

Yours sincerely,

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner

cc: Secretary MoUD