Delhi high court restrains NBCC from handing over commercial space in East Kidwai Nagar
The Delhi high court has restrained the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) from handing over possession of the commercial space built in East Kidwai Nagar, the central government neighbourhood in south Delhi being redeveloped by the state-owned real estate developer.
Putting an interim stay on allotment, Justice Vibhu Bhakru observed that there was no clarity on how the requirement for water would be met and also sought to know whether adequate arrangements had been made to handle traffic in the area.
The order came on an application filed by advocate Manali Singhal for senior lawyer Aman Lekhi, who is a resident of south Delhi, seeking directions to the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs to refrain from handing over possession of the commercial space.
The application contended that the project would increase the population density at least by double and block traffic around two hospitals — AIIMS and Safdarjung.
It said slow-moving traffic would get worse and adversely affect the approach of emergency vehicles.
Lekhi filed the petition in 2014 alleging that the plan for the east Kidwai Nagar project, meant for government officers, was done without considering environmental implications, road space, or rights of residents.
“Meanwhile, the NBCC shall not hand over possession of the commercial area (other than the one which has already handed over) till the next date of hearing as it thus appeared that respondents have not considered all the resources,” the court said in its oral order.
The next hearing is October 22.
After the New Moti Bagh housing complex, East Kidwai Nagar is the second in the series of general pool residential accommodation (GPRA) redevelopment schemes , being developed by the NBCC.
A separate stage of the GPRA?redevelopment scheme, also being developed by the NBCC, has been embroiled in controversy over the cutting of around 16,500 trees in South Delhi for the redevelopment of several neighbourhoods dedicated to government housing.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in July ordered a stay on the felling of trees.
After its makeover, East Kidwai Nagar will have 4, 608 flats of various categories (type II to VII). On July 4, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri handed over 210 flats to allottees. Spread over 86 acres, this government neighbourhood created in the 1960s had two-storey constructions with 2,444 dwelling units of two categories.
During the hearing on Monday, the court asked the counsel appearing for New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) how water would be supplied to occupants of the project.
Later, the court directed the Delhi Jal Board (DJB)?to file an affidavit explaining how it would meet the increased demand of water in the colony by the next date of hearing. “DJB shall file an affidavit stating the source from where the additional supply of water would be secured and the arrangement made in this regard,” the court said.
Professor Geetam Tiwari of IIT Delhi, who was nominated by the court to study the traffic situation in the area by holding meetings with officers of the NBCC and the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC), pointed out that the ‘present model’ was based on the assumption that people occupying the premises would be using public transport and, therefore, the requirement for parking space had been intentionally reduced, which was not disputed by the NBCC.
Alok Kumar Mittal, chairman-cum-managing director of NBCC, said the corporation would comply with the orders of the court. However, he added, “Some of the offices have already been allotted. The report of Geetam Tiwari and UTTIPEC will come but my experience on Ring Road suggests that there is minimum traffic on the stretch from South Extension to AIIMS roundabout. The service road is now free and it has been beautified by the NBCC and the PWD. The traffic has eased in this area.”
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