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DJB says wasn’t consulted in land pooling policy, new colonies may go ‘Dwarka way’

The policy would create nearly 1.7 million housing units, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said that it was never consulted about availability of drinking water or sewage systems.

delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2019 04:19 IST
Joydeep Thakur  and Risha Chitlangia
Joydeep Thakur and Risha Chitlangia
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi jal board,DDA,DDA land pooling policy
(HT File Photo)

The Delhi Development Authority’s land pooling policy, touted to be a game changer for Delhi’s real estate, could run into rough weather with water crises looming large over the proposed settlements.

The policy would create nearly 1.7 million housing units, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said that it was never consulted about availability of drinking water or sewage systems.

Khanjawala, Narela, Rohini and Najafgarh, from where DDA has received most applications for land pooling, fall under “semi-critical areas” as far as the water table is concerned, according to Central Ground Water Board’s report of 2017.

“The DJB was never consulted about availability of water in these areas,” said Dinesh Mohaniya, vice chairman of DJB, adding that the ground water in these areas is not fit for drinking.

But, DDA officials say that the policy was approved and notified by the Centre in last year only after DJB approval.

Confirming this, DDA vice-chairman Tarun Kapoor added, “The areas will take some time to develop and by then arrangements can be made to meet the water requirement.”

Senior DJB officials apprehend that situations in the upcoming settlements might face the same crisis as Dwarka did till 2015.

“The Dwarka water treatment plant (WTP) was commissioned only in 2015. Till then, at least 400 water tankers filled the reservoirs in housing complexes once or twice a week,” said a senior DJB official.

The situation in Narela, where DDA has close to 45,000 housing units, also faces the same problem. A large part of the DDA housing units are dependent on water tankers.

Sabyasachi Das, former planning commissioner and in-charge of UTTIPEC, said, “In the previous DDA housing projects, lack of water supply has been a major concern. Even today, several areas don’t get regular water supply. There is a need to plan for essential services like water simultaneously to ensure that these areas don’t meet the same fate.”

Experts and activists have also expressed concern over the future of such settlements.

“Whenever a large housing estate or a satellite town is developed, unofficial settlement also starts cropping up centering around these settlements. Unless a proper plan is developed it could lead into a water crisis for the entire city of Delhi,” said Diwan Singh, Dwarka-based activist and convener of Natural Heritage First.

Urban planners say that demand assessment is crucial before planning any new development. Sanjukkta Bhaduri, Dean (Research) and DIC, Coordinator and professor urban planning, School of Planning and Architecture, said, “It is crucial to do a demand assessment before allowing new projects to come up. People want affordable housing, but it should have essential services.”

First Published: Jul 10, 2019 04:18 IST