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Panel pulls up MDDA for ‘unnecessary’ delay in map approval

Doon resident Kumud Shekhawat had appealed to the Commission that it took nearly two years to get approval for her house construction, adding that it took place only after intervention of the panel which works to strengthen the service delivery mechanism.

dehradun Updated: Aug 23, 2017 20:23 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand,MDDA,unnecessary delay
Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority office.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT PHOTO)

DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand Right to Service Commission has pulled up the Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA) for “unnecessarily delaying a simple case” of map approval which it could have disposed of on its own.

Doon resident Kumud Shekhawat had appealed to the Commission that it took nearly two years to get approval for her house construction, adding that it took place only after intervention of the panel which works to strengthen the service delivery mechanism.

Shekhawat had applied to the MDDA for approval of a residential map on her land in Harchawala village on Dehradun’s outskirts in September 2015. The applicant had already procured a land use certificate (to ensure the ‘residential status’ of the plot) from the MDDA before purchasing the land.

The MDDA posed repeated objections, which the applicant resolved one by one but despite that the development body rejected her application saying the land was an ‘open area’ (meant for green spaces) adjoining forest area.

Subsequently, she filed a complaint with the Commission in April following which the senior town planner and the assistant engineer visited the site. The two officers concluded that there was no hindrance in clearing the map but a no-objection certificate was required from the forest department.

Taking a strict note, the Commission directed the MDDA to dispose of the matter within 15 days after the applicant submits the NOC. Later, the map was approved this month. “The MDDA kept this matter pending from September 2015 and eventually rejected it even though the applicant had completed all formalities...it raises questions about working of the MDDA, which flagged objections in bits and pieces and needlessly complicated a simple matter,” said DS Garbyal, commissioner of the Uttarakhand Right to Service Commission.

“From the case, we infer that the MDDA unnecessarily delays approval of maps or even rejects them…this may be happening to others as well who need to be vigilant about their rights like Shekhawat.”

MDDA secretary Prakash Chandra Dumka was unavailable for statement despite repeated attempts to contact him. An MDDA official, however, asserted that maps were usually approved within 15 days (in case of residential applications) according to the authority’s standard operating procedure. “At times, there are some technical hurdles which delay the process...we also hold special camps from time to time to assist applicants in resolving issues to speed up the process,” he said.

Independent experts said the Commission order put spotlight on the “questionable style of functioning” of development authorities. “Not just the MDDA, even other development authorities often delay sanction of maps. When an area has already been earmarked as residential under the Master Plan, the authorities are bound to give nod to the map,” said Devendra Singh Rana, president of the Uttarakhand Engineers and Draftsmen Welfare Association. “Such a malpractice reeks of corruption and should be flagged by applicants.”

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First Published: Aug 23, 2017 20:23 IST