To quote from Alice in Wonderland, matters related to Delhi’s land pooling policy (LPP) seem to be getting curiouser and curiouser. The plan, of immense importance to the Capital city because it will create 25 to 30 lakh homes for its citizens, still seems to have no clarity.
About 89 rural villages in Delhi have to be converted to urban areas and then developed. Parties interested in benefiting from LPP have to buy the land from the villages, hand it over to DDA and get a percentage back for development. As the Delhi government had not taken a clear stand on LPP and a number of property buyers had invested huge sums hoping for substantial returns (ROI), HT Estates attempted to gain more clarity on LPP. An email was sent to Manish Sisodia, state deputy chief minister, with a copy to Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister, requesting information on conversion of the (89) rural villages to urban in the LPP zones.
In a quick response on February 10, 2016, GK Madhav, officer on special duty to Sisodia, forwarded the mail to the special secretary, urban development, keeping this correspondent in the loop, asking that the matter be looked into.
On February 18, Sanjeev Mankotia, deputy secretary in the municipal bodies branch of the urban development (UD) department, in a mail to this correspondent, said his department had taken up the conversion matter with three municipal corporations. He had written to the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), asking for copies of resolutions declaring villages in their jurisdiction as urbanised alongwith draft of notification. Mankotia’s letters to the corporations were dated February 11, making it evident that the matter was taken up two days after HT Estates sent the email to Sisodia. Two documents were also attached to Mankotia’s communication to the municpal corporations. One was a notification from the director, panchayat, dated October 19, 2015, with the subject ‘Declaration of 89 villages as urban villages.’ The other was from the vice chairman, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), dated February 11, 2016, to the UD department, informing it about the notification of 89 urban villages under Section 507 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957. DDA’s letter had also mentioned that the SDMC had passed a resolution in the house to declare villages falling under its jurisdiction as urbanised.
Now the question is, why did Mankotia choose to send the director panchayat and DDA VC’s letters to the corporations now, on February 11, 2016, instead of the dates on which they were issued, and that too after the emailed enquiries by HT Estates? Secondly, six months ago, when DDA VC’s letter to Mankotia’s department had mentioned that SDMC had passed a resolution in the house to declare villages falling under its jurisdiction as urbanised, why was the UD department now asking the corporations for a copy of the resolution?
While the UD department letter indicates that the Delhi government is completely clueless about LPP, it also highlights complete lack of communication between senior officials of municipal bodies and DDA.
While both SDMC and NDMC (North Delhi) claimed to have already passed the resolutions, DDA informed this correspondent that it had no such information.
“We had received a letter from the DDA VC a few months ago with a request to pass the resolution for the conversion of 47 rural villages (in NDMC’s jurisdiction) to urban areas. Our standing committee and House has passed the resolution. It was sent it to DDA VC, and he has to proceed,” says Mohan Bhardwaj, chairman, standing committee, NDMC (North Delhi). SDMC has also claimed that it passed a resolution to convert 38 of its rural villages to urban villages. “We did it more than six months ago following a request from DDA VC and provided him a copy of the resolution. Why is the Delhi government asking us for a copy of the resolution? DDA should have sent them that copy to them,” says Subhash Arya, mayor, SDMC.
Strangely enough, Rajesh Kumar Jain, director, land pooling, DDA, when contacted by HT Estates, said no information on the resolution had been received and that DDA would proceed on the matter only when it had a copy of the resolutions policy.