How ru­ral Delhi be­came ‘no plan land’

FREE­FOR­ALL Suc­ces­sive plans ex­cluded Delhi’s ur­ban vil­lages from civic con­trol and vir­tu­ally turned them into is­lands. Hap­haz­ard con­struc­tion and unchecked com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion only added to the civic mess in th­ese 135 lo­cal­i­ties spread across Delhi

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - METRO - Gu­lam.jee­

NEWDELHI: The sprawl­ing fields in front of Sul­tan Chauhan’s 20-room house in Hauz Khas vil­lage dou­bled up as play­ground when he was a child. But to­day, the fields have been re­placed by a con­gested row of build­ings that has cropped up in the last three decades.

At 75, the frail old man with a flow­ing white beard rem­i­nisces the “good old days” even as he wit­nesses open spa­ces swal­lowed by ur­ban­i­sa­tion, inch by inch.

“Now, ev­ery time I step out, I fear I am go­ing to run into an ac­ci­dent,” Chauhan said, ex­plain­ing the gen­tri­fi­ca­tion that his an­ces­tral vil­lage has un­der­gone ever since his birth in 1942.


Hauz Khas Vil­lage lies tucked in a back­yard that con­sists of a med­ley of bou­tiques, plush restau­rants and noisy pubs. It is one of the 135 ur­ban vil­lages of the Na­tional Cap­i­tal where the un­planned and un­re­stricted boom of res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments and the ab­sence of ad­e­quate ameni­ties at­tracted no author­ity’s at­ten­tion.

“If I walk to­wards Aurobindo Marg from my house, I can’t see the sky­line over my head. It is now hid­den un­der build­ing floors,” said Chauhan, sit­ting in House Num­ber 43, per­haps the only un­af­fected build­ing among the 80-odd house­holds in the vil­lage. As fate would have it, his only son Liyakat Ali is also into the prop­erty busi­ness.

Be it Hauz Khas Vil­lage or the five ur­ban vil­lages in Kotla Mubarakpur — sand­wiched be­tween De­fence Colony and South Ex­ten­sion — the sit­u­a­tion of ur­banised vil­lages re­mains more or less the same across Delhi.

Agri­cul­tural land of th­ese vil­lages was ac­quired from farm­ers af­ter 1911 to set up the Na­tional Cap­i­tal in Delhi.

Now, nar­row un­paved roads form a maze bi­sect­ing rows of multi-storey build­ings where even three-wheel­ers strug­gle to nav­i­gate. Tan­gled elec­tric­ity wires hover over­head and garbage can be seen flow­ing out of sewer lines.

Due to its prox­im­ity to Delhi’s ur­ban cen­tres, cheap rentals and shop­ping cen­tres, peo­ple with busi­ness in­ter­ests en­tered the vil­lages and now ten­ants out­num­ber orig­i­nal res­i­dents.

Sit­ting on a cot on the nar­row al­ley lead­ing to his dou­ble-storey house in Jood Bagh, Chaudhary Prem Singh said he can­not see his great-grand­chil­dren suf­fo­cat­ing in the shrink­ing neigh­bour­hood where he was born 70 years ago.

“Look at the un­end­ing mar­ket that has come up to Arya Na­gar. There are cars piled up on both sides of the road. Is this place even worth liv­ing any­more?” Singh said be­tween puffs of smoke from the long-stemmed hookah. A re­tired gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial, Singh lives with his fam­ily of 15 in the six-room house built in 1989. With a pop­u­la­tion of 2,000, Jood Bagh is one of the five ur­banised vil­lages of Kotla Mubarakpur. Lu­tyens’ Zone


When Delhi was be­ing set up as the na­tional cap­i­tal in 1911, the pop­u­la­tion of its ur­banised vil­lages was in­cluded within ‘Lal Dora’ — a term that re­ferred to the bound­ary of vil­lages within which laws of cor­po­ra­tions or ur­ban author­i­ties were not ap­pli­ca­ble.

But as hu­man set­tle­ments ex­panded, the ex­tended pop­u­la­tion was in­cluded in a new pe­riph­eral bound­ary called ‘Phirni’, while the area be­tween the Lal Dora and Phirni was termed ‘Ex­tended Lal Dora’.

“They (author­i­ties) marked Lal Do­ras and let all il­le­gal de­vel­op­ments take place in­side,” said Dunu Roy of the Haz­ards Cen­tre. “As we move to­wards mas­ter plan 2041, many things in the 2021 plan like mon­i­tor­ing have not even been touched.”

Ac­cord­ing to a 1957 no­ti­fi­ca­tion, Lal Do­ras were ex­empted from the build­ing by­laws and other reg­u­la­tions of Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Act. On Au­gust 24, 1963, the Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion of Delhi (MCD) passed an­other no­ti­fi­ca­tion say­ing no build­ing per­mis­sion was re­quired for con­struc­tion in Lal Do­ras.

While the pre­vi­ous two mas­ter plans (1962, 2001) left out the vil­lages, the ex­ist­ing Mas­ter Plan Delhi 2021 has laid down norms that say th­ese vil­lages would be gov­erned by spe­cial reg­u­la­tions but will re­main ex­empt from seal­ing.

“For vil­lages which have been no­ti­fied as ur­banised, any con­struc­tion has to be car­ried out in con­form­ity with the build­ing by­laws of the lo­cal bod­ies and Mas­ter Plan of Delhi 2021,” said JP Agrawal, prin­ci­pal com­mis­sioner, hous­ing, DDA.

Ac­cord­ing to Te­jin­der Khanna Com­mit­tee re­port sub­mit­ted in 2006, spe­cial build­ing by­laws were sup­posed to be framed for th­ese vil­lages.

Congress leader Ajay Maken, who was Union min­is­ter of state for ur­ban de­vel­op­ment when 2021 Mas­ter Plan was be­ing im­ple­mented in 2009, said civic ameni­ties have not reached the vil­lages for want of space.

“Agri­cul­tural land was ac­quired from farm­ers at low com­pen­sa­tion. And in re­turn, the de­vel­op­ment done was in­suf­fi­cient. Liveli­hood prob­lems are acute as the com­pen­sa­tion that most of them got has been ex­hausted. So, their means of liveli­hood is rental in­come be­cause of which the vil­lages have been con­verted into rental units and small scale in­dus­tries,” he said.

In th­ese vil­lages, water, sewer and elec­tric­ity are the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Delhi gov­ern­ment while the lo­cal bod­ies main­tain drains and lanes.


The hap­haz­ard growth in th­ese vil­lages ap­pears largely irreversible.

Time and again the Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion of Delhi has made dif­fer­ent an­nounce­ments on seal­ing or de­mo­li­tion of il­le­gal con­struc­tions.

Of­fi­cials said prop­er­ties in ur­banised vil­lages that were con­structed be­fore 2007 have been given pro­tec­tion un­der the Delhi Laws (Spe­cial Pro­vi­sions) Act for Ur­banised Vil­lages 2008. But any prop­erty which has been con­structed af­ter that is li­able for seal­ing and de­mo­li­tion, they said.

“The Mas­ter Plan 2021 pro­vides pro­tec­tion to prop­er­ties in ur­banised vil­lages as build­ing reg­u­la­tions for th­ese ar­eas had not been no­ti­fied. But con­fu­sion per­sists over build­ings con­structed af­ter 2007. So, we can­not do much,” said an of­fi­cial who did not want to be named.

Re­cently, the Union cabi­net cleared the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory of Delhi Laws (NCTD) (Spe­cial Pro­vi­sions) Sec­ond (Amend­ment) Act, 2017.

The Act pro­vides im­mu­nity of three more years (be­yond the De­cem­ber 31, 2017 dead­line), to all prop­er­ties with unau­tho­rised con­struc­tions in­clud­ing com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments in res­i­den­tial ar­eas, high-end bou­tiques and show­rooms in ur­banised vil­lages such as Shah­pur Jat and Hauz Khas Vil­lage. “Un­less Delhi has a town plan­ning depart­ment like other states, we should stop hop­ing for im­prove­ment in th­ese hubs of il­le­gal con­struc­tion,” said AK Jain, for­mer DDA plan­ning com­mis­sioner.


In Pil­lanji, the only ur­ban vil­lage in New Delhi area, rows of multi-storey build­ings have come up af­ter the land of dairy farm­ers was ac­quired in 1911. How­ever, no one knows how many peo­ple have been added to the orig­i­nal 4,000 res­i­dents of the area.

Pil­lanji saw some de­vel­op­ment in terms of sewer lines and roads as part of an ini­tia­tive by MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who adopted the vil­lage for de­vel­op­ment.

“There is no record of how many peo­ple live here,” said Har­ish Chand, a 60-year-old res­i­dent who is the fourth gen­er­a­tion res­i­dent of the 600-year-old vil­lage. “There was a time when we were fas­ci­nated if a car passed by. To­day, there is no space for hu­mans to walk.”

Parts of this ur­banised vil­lage were ac­quired f or hous­ing gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees in Saro­jini Na­gar. To­day, like any other ur­banised vil­lage, it is more com­mer­cialised than res­i­den­tial.

“Some peo­ple stayed back, some have left. The orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants, who were largely dairy farm­ers, ex­hausted the com­pen­sa­tion money as fam­i­lies grew in size. There were no re­sources and they kept adding floors to the build­ings,” said Chat­tar Singh, an old res­i­dent of the vil­lage. In 135 ur­banised vill ages, the un­planned and unre es­tricted boom of res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial es­tab­lis hments in ab­sence of ba­sic am meni­ties has at­tracted no au­thor ity’s at­ten­tion be­yond pr romises In 1911, when the na ational cap­i­tal was be­ing se et up, the pop­u­la­tion of th­ese vil­lages was in­cluded within Lal Do­rad — the term re­ferred to the e bound­ary within which laws ofo ur­ban author­i­ties were not t ap­pli­ca­ble. Ac­cord­ing to a 1957 no­ti­fi­ca­tion, Lal Do­ras were exem mpted from the build­ing byelaw ws and other reg­u­la­tions of Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Act. On Au­gust 24, 1 963, MCD said that no build­ing g per­mis­sion was re­quired for con nstruc­tion in Lal Do­ras. The mas­ter plans of 1962 and 2001 had no plan for th­ese vil­lages and de­vel­op­ment was stalled at the pe­riph­ery. Mas­ter plan 2021 laid down norms for th­ese vil­lages to be gov­erned by spe­cial reg­u­la­tions. For vil­lages no­ti­fied as ur­banised, any con­struc­tion has to be car­ried out in con­form­ity with the build­ing by-laws of the lo­cal bod­ies and Mas­ter Plan of Delhi, 2021.



Hasan­pur Kait­wara Karkar­duma Khichripur

Khureji Khas



See­lam pur Shah­dara Shakarpur Khas Jwala­heri Sad­ho­rah Kalan Sad­ho­rah Khurd Wazirabad



Ghonda Neemka Jhilmil Tahilpur (Na­jul)

Jhilmil Tahirpur Man­doli Fazilpur Man­doli Kachi



Us­man­pur Azad­pur Badli Bharola Chaukri Mubarik­abad


Dhirpur Haider­pur Kham­pur Ma­likpur Ch­hawni

Man­golpur Kalan

Man­golpur Khurd Na­harpur Pi­palthala Pi­ta­m­pura Ra­jpur Ch­hawni Rithala

Sahipur Saleem­pur Ma­jra

SUL­TAN CHAUHAN, res­i­dent of Hauz Khas vil­lage CHAUDHARY PREM SINGH , res­i­dent of Jood Bagh NH-10 IGI Air­port NH-8 NH-1 Ring Road NH-24 NH-2

The land ear­marked for vil­lage abadi and agri­cul­ture was duly de­mar­cated in the set­tle­ment of 1908-09 and the abadi site was cir­cum­scribed in the vil­lage map in red ink. It, hence, came to be com­monly known as Lal Dora. The are fall­ing within Lal Dora is not as­sessed for land rev­enue. How­ever, the land fall­ing out­side vil­lage abadi (Lal Dora) is meant for agri­cul­ture and is sub­ject to land rev­enue. Sa­may­pur Shakur­pur Shal­i­mar Wazir­pur Ad­h­chini Arakpur Bagh Badarpur Begumpur Behlopur Khadar Ber Sarai

Chi­rag Delhi Garhi Jharia Maria

Hari Na­gar Ashram

Hauz Khas

Hauz Rani Hu­mayun­pur Ja­sola

Jia Sarai

Joga Bai

Kalu Sarai Kat­waria Sarai Kharara Khirki

Khizarbad Kilokari

Kotla Mubarakpur

Ladha Sarai

Lado Sarai Madan­gir Madan­pur Khadar

Masih Garh Masjid Moth Mehrauli

Mochi (nazul) Kis­hangarh Mo­ham­mad­pur Mu­nirka Nan­gloi Raza­pur Okhla

Sarai Ju­liana Sarai Kalekhan Sarai Shahji Shah­pur Jat Sheikh Sarai Tamoor Na­gar First Mas­ter Plan pre­scribed prin­ci­ples for de­vel­op­ment of ru­ral ar­eas, but de­tailed plan­ning re­mained par­tial.

The MPD 2001 lay em­pha­sis on in­te­grated de­vel­op­ment of ru­ral ar­eas. But civic plans did not in­di­cate Lal Dora De­lay in no­ti­fi­ca­tion of ur­ban vil­lages led to un­planned growth.

Build­ing ac­tiv­ity picked up in the time-gap be­tween dec­la­ra­tion of ur­ban­iza­tion and con­tin­ued even af­ter that. Yusaf Sarai Sam­rud­pur Am­barhai Bag­dola Bam­noli Bas­ant Na­gar Bharthal Bi­jwasan Bin­da­pur Dabri

Dhool Si­ras Kakrola Luharheri Mahipalpur Ma­sud­abad Mirza­pur Na­jaf­garh Nan­gal Raya Naraina Nasir­pur Nawada Palam an­pur Posangipur Sa­garpur Sahupura Shah­bad Mo­hama­mad­pur To­gan­pur Asalat­pur Khawad

Ba­sai Dara­pur Bud­hela Chaukhandi Garhi Peeran Haibat­pur Hast­sal (partly) Keshopur Kham­pur Raya Khyala Madipur Mak­sood­pur Ma­tiala

Nan­gli Jalib Nan­gloi Saiyed Shadipur Ti­tarpur Land Pool­ing Pol­icy cov­ers the green­field ar­eas in 5 zones — J, K-1, L, N and P-II un­der the MPD 2021.

Un­der the Land Pool­ing Pol­icy, 60% of pooled land would be re­turned to own­ers af­ter in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, if the pooled land is 20ha and above and 48%, if the land pooled, is be­tween 2-20 ha. Of the 60% of re­turned land, 53% will be for res­i­den­tial, 5% for com­mer­cial use and 2% for public and semi-public use.


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