Dif­fer­ent rules ap­ply?

DDA’s draft pol­icy on farm­houses draws flak

HT Estates - - Front Page - Arati Bhar­gava

A draft of the muchawaited pol­icy for farm­houses in Delhi, which has been hailed by prop­erty own­ers, has drawn flak from the nonof­fi­cial mem­bers com­pris­ing Delhi MLAs and mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lors, who want a re­think on it.

The joy of farm­house own­ers, many of them af­flu­ent and pow­er­ful, is un­der­stand­able as the pro­posed pol­icy al­lows for reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion of these prop­er­ties, even on no­ti­fied land. Unau­tho­rised con­struc­tion in farm­houses that came up be­fore Fe­bru­ary 7, 2007, too will be reg­u­larised as will those whose sanc­tions had been sought prior to that date by pay­ment of spec­i­fied dues to the au­thor­i­ties. The reg­u­larised prop­er­ties are to be called coun­try homes and per­mit­ted in all zones, bar­ring some spec­i­fied ar­eas. Also to be al­lowed is built-up area of 30% as against just one per cent till now. And wait, this is not enough. There is also a sug­ges­tion in­cluded that the farm­houses of spec­i­fied sizes be per­mit­ted to have fit­ness cen­tres, natur­opa­thy clin­ics, non­in­va­sive health clin­ics. Plots of more than five acres on roads least 18-me­tre wide may be used for so­cio-cul­tural and recre­ational pur­poses — be it an amuse­ment park or a re­sort.

This grand booty of con­ces­sions al­lowed to farm­house own­ers in the pro­posed pol­icy has been slammed by the DDA nonof­fi­cial mem­bers — three MLAs, Sub­hash Cho­pra and Naseeb Singh both from the Congress as well as former BJP pres­i­dent Harsh Vard­han (BJP MLA). The other two mem­bers are mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lors, Ra­jesh Gahlot and Sudesh Bhasin, both from the BJP. Ac­cord­ing to Sub­hash Cho­pra, any pol­icy that pro­vides amnesty for unau­tho­rised con­struc­tion should ben­e­fit all. “Why only the farm­house own­ers? There should be amnesty for the poor, the mid­dle class and also traders. Let the unau­tho­rised colonies and unau­tho­rised con­struc­tion in DDA flats or even mar­kets — be it South Ex­ten­sion, Model Town or Darya­ganj — be reg­u­larised. When a low in­come per­son in a DDA flat builds an ex­tra room, the of­fi­cials rush to de­mol­ish it and here it (DDA) wants to reg­u­larise the farm­houses im­me­di­ately. Why should there be dif­fer­ent rules for dif­fer­ent peo­ple?” he asks.

The pro­posed pol­icy draft smacks of “favouritism for the rich”, says Vard­han. “The pri­or­ity should be to help the eco­nom­i­cally-weaker sec­tions. But if a small shop owner breaches the rules, the of­fi­cials throw the rule book at him. In­stead of reg­u­lar­is­ing the colonies and unau­tho­rised con­struc­tions in mid­dle-and low-in­come colonies, the govern­ment seems to be in a tear­ing hurry to pro­vide suc­cour to the rich who have built pala­tial ‘farm­houses’. Rules are made for peo­ple and not peo­ple for rules. What is also ob­jec­tion­able is that many of the ex­ist­ing farm­houses are on the land that un­der the present Delhi mas­ter plan can be used for hous­ing and even much-needed fa­cil­i­ties such as schools, hos­pi­tals or roads. The pro­posed pol­icy is cheat­ing the masses of Delhi,” he said.

THINKSTOCK

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