The Delhi Development Authority's decision to hold the draw of lots for its latest housing scheme "behind closed doors" hasn't gone down well with applicants.
With the 2008 housing scheme scam fresh in their minds, those who have applied for the 2010 scheme are apprehensive about the draw being held at Noida and not DDA headquarters, Vikas Sadan.
The housing scheme of Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the country's biggest land development agency, has offered 16,000 flats and received 7.4 lakh successful applications.
The draw of lots will take place on Monday at the office of Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC) in Noida. The DDA has roped in C-DAC to conduct the computerised draw of lots.
"Every time the DDA has conducted a draw of lots for its housing schemes, there has been some problem. The draw should be an open exercise and if not applicants, at least the media should be allowed to be present," said Ritesh Diwan of the DDA Flat Applicants' Association.
"In the 2008 housing scheme, the land development agency took one-and-a-half years to give possession of flats due to the scam that ensued. I hope something similar doesn't happen this time," he said.
"The DDA is expected to provide affordable housing to millions of Delhiites, but if they can't arrange for even a draw in their office, what can be expected from them?" questioned Vikas Sharma, one of the applicants.
"Eminent citizens and media should be allowed to observe the draw to ensure there is no foul play."
DDA said the number of flats being offered in the scheme and the number of applicants are the highest it has handled ever and the agency lacks the IT infrastructure to conduct the draw.
"C-DAC has the sophisticated equipment required for such an exercise and as it can't be transported, the draw is being conducted in their Noida office," said a senior DDA official, who didn't wish to be named.
"There is not enough space at the C-DAC premises to accommodate too many people and security is also very stringent," the official said, adding that there will be senior bureaucrats and journalists present during the draw to act as observers. Some mediapersons will be allowed in a hall outside, where the draw will be shown on television.
Some applicants also complained that information about applications that have been accepted for the draw was also not available on the DDA's website.
"The details of all applicants was uploaded on our website between March 27 and April 7, and public notice was also issued. There were not many errors in the list," the DDA official said.