Letter to LG (31/03/2005)

Shri BL Joshi, LG/DDA Chairman

Sub: DDA budget approved on 29/03/2005

Dear Sir,

From news reports, the DDA annual budget appears to be consonant with GNCTD’s Annual Plan rather than with Delhi Master Plan. Having lately announced Public Notice inviting objections and suggestions on draft DMP-2021, DDA would have done well to respect the sanctity of the public notice process to focus on projects under those DMP-2001 policies that DMP-2021 reiterates rather than modifies. However, budget reports refer to several projects that are not according to DMP-2001 even as DDA is barred by s.23 of its Act for using its fund for any purpose other than development according to Plan.

Techno-legal infirmities in most of the budget proposals – which will require, separately or in DMP-2021 but in any case as fait-accompli, post-facto land use change – can easily be set out, and indeed are already set out for many of them in court matters awaiting replies and public notice responses awaiting disposal. The issue is no longer about particular illegalities but about the broad sweep of DDA’s willfulness and presumption of post-facto approvals, about which disapproval was reportedly expressed at Authority meeting of 28/02/2005 and more substantively in Hon’ble High Court’s judgment of 16/09/2002 against the Sultangarhi project.

We are particularly distressed by proposals for flyovers and seemingly innocuous parks in vicinity of illegal projects in ridge and riverbed areas. Flyovers at ITO chungi and Noida Morh and greening of the west bank of Yamuna will serve well “prestigious” but illegal projects underway on the East bank. So-called archaeological parks at Qutb and Sultangarhi, likewise, will serve well illegal projects underway in Mehrauli and Sultangarhi ridge. They will also, besides violating s.23, frustrate s.11A Public Notices issued in the past as well as Public Notice u/s.10 announced for DMP-2021 and yet to be issued for O-Zone and J-Zone plans and other constitutional processes as well. Even if such proposals were technically justifiable, which they are not, such illegalities are contrary to public interest, as unequivocally held by the Hon’ble Court in its judgment against the Sultangarhi project.

And we are shocked at the outlay of 240 cr in DDA’s annual budget as some “co-finance” to DMRC. This is an incredible violation of s.23. DMRC has been violating the Master Plan with impunity, notably in its so-called property development for revenue raising. DDA is duty-bound to levy on it penalties and misuse charges. We had hoped to see DMRC feature on the receipts side in the DDA budget, but it stars on the expenditure side with as much as 10% of DDA’s annual outlay.

We can only urge you, Sir, to stop this willfulness. In particular, we request:

(1) Directions for stopping work on GNCTD-DMRC IT Park on the riverbed till disposal of responses, including about 200 filed from our platform, to s.11A Public Notice for proposal for it

(2) Directions for stopping the work on GNCTD, DDA and DMRC projects / proposals in the area between Mehrauli and Sultangarhi ridge till disposal of our WP 8523/2003, etc

(3) Copy of relevant portions of the minutes of, or at least confirmation of news reports of disapproval of post-facto land use change at, Authority meeting of 28/02/2005 (since the news report mentioned both IT Park and the Sultangarhi scheme).

Yours sincerely,

Gita Dewan Verma, MPISG Planner