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The flats that are no one’s baby

delhi Updated: Feb 25, 2010 23:24 IST
Sidhartha Roy

Despite our repeated attempts to contact him for more than a week, DDA’s Vice Chairman A.K. Nigam refused to agree for an interview or even comment on the problems faced by residents living in the authority’s housing schemes. We had sent him a questionnaire on February 19, a precondition set by him for an interview. However, Nigam still refused to be interviewed and the following response to our queries was sent by DDA’s Director (PR) Neemo Dhar.

What is the average lifespan of a DDA flat and how frequently does it need maintenance and repair?

The average life span of a DDA flat is around 50 years, which depends on maintenance. Even in private flats, maintenance is necessary for health and longevity of the building. DDA follows ISI standards for both construction material and fittings used in a flat. Third-party assurance has now been introduced wherein quality assurance is given by reputed institutions like IITs.

After allotting a flat, how regularly do DDA officials visit the buildings to monitor their proper maintenance?

DDA is a development authority. After development, colonies are handed over to local bodies for maintenance of civic amenities. Therefore, no monitoring for maintenance is done.

Why hasn't DDA devised a mechanism for maintenance of common areas such as staircases and toilet shafts?

Maintenance of the flat after allotment rests with the allottee. Due to poor or non-maintenance of flats/buildings by allottees or the association formed by them such seepages are seen. The seepage can be due to negligence, poor maintenance and also unauthorised constructions. DDA’s Quality Assurance Wing undertakes quality inspections during construction period.

Why do most DDA flats, including HIG ones, have tiny toilets and kitchens?

Toilets and kitchens are provided in the flats as per building byelaws. Their size is based on the principle of optimum use of space and also considering the overall impact on the cost. DDA cannot provide fancy fittings or increase the carpet area due to spacious toilets.

Who decides the look and colour of DDA flats? Has DDA ever tried to innovate on the exterior design of its flats?

The colour schemes are based on aesthetics and are a result of the design of the housing coupled with economy and the context in which the housing is located. Innovative exteriors can be observed in case of DDA Housing in Sector 12, 18 & 19 in Dwarka.

Most DDA flats come only with the provision of a scooter parking. Why didn't DDA foresee the need for car parking in its flats?

Some of the earlier schemes were designed when car ownership was comparatively low and two wheelers were the most common mode of transport.