The preparation of the Master Plan-2021, should have been taken up well before the year 2000 when the previous plan was to complete its term. However, it was only in 2004 2005 that bits and pieces of what was contemplated by the DDA started appearing in the news media. It was also only in February March' 2005, that COMMON CAUSE learnt from a brief notice published in the press that the Draft Master Plan was ready for comments of the public. However, only one copy was on display in the office of the DDA and for referring to the main document one had to go to a Web Site of the DDA. COMMON CAUSE immediately made a representation to the authorities concerned that this kind of publication of an important document that was going to affect the lives of the people of Delhi for the next 10 15 years, virtually amounted to non-publication. We requested that copies of the document be placed in all the offices of the DDA, Housing Co-operative Societies, Residents' Welfare Associations, etc. and, on sale to anyone who wished to study the document in detail. It seems that it was on this basis that the DDA sent a copy of the document, to the Punjab, Haryana and Delhi Chamber of Commerce who invited comments from various organizations including COMMON CAUSE. Detailed comments were sent by COMMON CAUSE and copies also sent to the Ministry of Urban Development and the Chief Minister of Delhi. (The detailed comments are in annex 1 to this article.)

In the meanwhile again, an announcement in the press said that the DDA had decided to allow commercialization in residential areas on the streets more than 18 m wide. It was also said, that Banquet Halls would be permitted on plots of land of 333 square metres or above. In both matters, the provision of parking, traffic and all other infrastructural services were not mentioned. COMMON CAUSE immediately brought this to the notice of the authorities, pointing out that the DDA by itself or even the Urban Development Ministry without prior publication and inviting public opinion were precluded from making changes in the Master Plan. Also, that even if such views had been expressed internally in the DDA, their leakage to the press would be highly detrimental in the highly volatile conditions of the land market in Delhi. (A copy of the letter written in this regard is at annex 2 to the article.)

As it appeared to COMMON CAUSE that with an Expert Committee going into all the controversial matters, the comments and suggestions made by COMMON CAUSE could get lost in the volume of paper the Committee was required to go through, it was thought best to repeat briefly the major points made by COMMON CAUSE in a letter. (A copy of the letter may be seen at annex 3 to the article.)

April-June 2006