Thirty years after the state government launched its Delhi Flat Registration Scheme, 17,000 of the 20,000 slum dwellers from whom the government collected money for allocating flats remain homeless.
Only 2,650 people have received any kind of accommodation, records show.
“In a period of 30 years, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board has allotted flats only to 2,650 persons. At this pace, the complainant shall have to wait for 150 years before getting flats,” the Delhi State Commission observed on Wednesday.
The court noted that many slum dwellers who had applied could well be senior citizens or even dead by the time the DDA fulfils its commitment under the scheme.
“Nobody knows how many applicants are alive and how many died waiting for a roof on their heads. This is a case of gross negligence and insensitivity on the part of the other party (DDA),” said judicial member NP Kaushik.
The revelation that only a little over 2,600 people had been given flats under the scheme was made by Delhi Development Authority in its written arguments before the state commission, a grievance body for consumer complaints. The forum was hearing an appeal filed by Sunder Nagri resident Desh Raj.
Raj had in 1985 deposited Rs 3,000 with DDA for a flat under the scheme. When he did not receive the promised property even in 2008, he filed a complaint with the consumer forum.
“The amount of Rs 3,000... in the year 1985... used to be the pay of a joint secretary in the Central government. The complainant undoubtedly belongs to the lowest strata of the society. One can only imagine the value of Rs 3,000 for such a poor person in the year 1985. The shelter board had promised to allot houses at the earliest,” Kaushik pointed out.
Calling the 30-year delay in allocating a flat to Raj a “deficiency of service” on DDA’s part, Kaushik directed the land development body to return the man’s money along with interest of 18% per annum starting from December, 1985.
The forum directed that the government pay Raj `20 lakh as compensation for “causing harassment, inconvenience, sadness, anguish and mental agony in a span of thirty years.”
The forum directed that Rs 50 lakh be deposited in the State Consumer Welfare Fund “for other applicants who have not been allotted flats so far in terms of the scheme but had not come forward to complain”.