As bulldozers continue to undo the damage that the MCD-sponsored urban mushroom patches have created over the years, ingenious methods are being used to avoid Armageddon. Illegal gyms, for instance, have been ‘re-described’ by their owners as ‘centres of preventive medicine’ in an (unsuccessful) attempt to be included in the ‘exempted list’. But what about other illegal constructions in residential areas that are desperately seeking a reprieve? MCD Commissioner AK Nigam has stated that shops catering to ‘daily needs’ will not be targeted. Thus, grocery stores, tailor shops and bakeries won’t be sealed. But what about the local liquor shops? Although the MCD hasn’t yet specified how the demolition crew should act on this, can’t the owners turn it into a daily need-cum-medicinal store that can be spared for the cheer and health of the public?
Meanwhile, doctors, lawyers, architects and chartered accountants with only ‘50 per cent coverage area’ can ply their trades. Pre-primary schools — that ubiquitous institution that is to children what the old cowshed was to cattle — can, if delicately argued, be repositioned as centres of ‘mental grooming centres’. And if each illegally constructed classroom in such illegally constructed school is considered as an individual office, why, there may be a case of considering these ‘educational’ workplaces as spaces from which professionals ply their trade.
Oh, we can even set up an illegal consultancy office room to suggest other ways to go around the law. But then, that would lead to the destruction of Delhi, won’t it? Unless, of course, you would prefer to pitch that as the ‘preservation of the urban, organic chaos of Delhi’.