WILL THE DELHI GOVT SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE?
Khirki Extension is one such example. People here have constructed houses on private agricultural land,” says Sanjeev Gupta, a Delhi High Court lawyer.
“The Delhi Development Act, Municipal Corporation of Delhi Act and a Supreme Court order prohibit any construction activity in unauthorised areas. However, with the silent approval from the authorities, it’s being carried out openly everywhere,” Gupta alleges.
Adds a senior MCD official, “Let alone the construction in unauthorised colonies, even in regularised colonies people can’t construct stilt plus ground fl oors plus three fl oors ( i t shouldn’t’ exceed 17.5 metres) on any plot. However, this provision has been openly flouted in colonies like Laxmi Nagar, Bola Nath Nagar, Shakarpur and many other similar regularised colonies in other parts of Delhi.”
“People are constructing six and seven floors in Khirki Extension by bribing police and civic bodies. It’s illegal and we appeal to the government to take action against these people,” says George.
Eminent urban planner and Padma Bhushan awardee, M N Buch, says, “It requires serious effort and detailed planning to address the issues at hand. With checks on illegal construction, it’s equally important to decongest Delhi and address the housing requirements of the migrant population.”
Buch claims that in 1996, Sahib Singh Verma, then chief
minister of Delhi, had asked him to suggest ways to solve the Capital’s exploding population and haphazard development problems.
“I suggested several measures l i ke moving out t he apple mandi from Azadpur to Ambala, creating good infrastructure and improving connectivity between Delhi and other cities so that many business activities could be shifted to those cities to ease pressure on the Capital.”
A believer in stringent measures to counter illegal construction, Buch, who was vice chairman of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for 19 months in the late ’70s, had demolished several illegal colonies, includ-
ing Mahendra Enclave (near GT Karnal Road) despite strong criticism from some politicians.
“When I had demolished several houses in Mahendra Enclave, the then prime minister Morarji Desai asked me to see him the very next day at 6 am as he was under the impression that the colony was in existence for over a decade and that it had been wrongly demolished.”
“So I carried bricks from the demolition site in a lorry to the prime minister’s house. The year of manufacture on the bricks was 1978. I told the PM that a decade- old colony would use bricks manufactured in 1968 or before that. I tried to show how it was important
to nip the problem in the bud,” Buch adds.
Another veteran city planner, RG Gupta, who was with DDA from 1965 to 1994, says that he has seen how unauthorised colonies have grown in Delhi from 101 in 1,965 to more than 2,000 colonies today under the political protection of various governments.
“Where the Delhi government is concerned, as far as I know, no thought process is going on in connection with the issue of regularisation of unauthorised colonies. Having regularisation of colonies on the Aam Aadmi’s election manifesto doesn’t make any sense if illegal expansion of colonies and land encroachment continues,” says Gupta.