Further to our comments on the Draft MPD-2021, the recent events in Delhi require the urgent consideration of the Drafting Committee and more importantly of the Central Government. For facility of consideration, this representation is being presented in the form of separate points:

1) The recent orders of the High Court and Supreme Court, directing the MCD and DDA to demolish illegal constructions, non-conforming use of residential property such as commercial, shops, marriage halls, unlicensed dispensaries, maternity homes, etc., encroachment on public/govt. lands and constructions thereon, raise serious questions as to the nature of control over land management in Delhi. The elected representatives in the MCD, Delhi Assembly and even some MP's have opposed the compliance of the Courts' orders virtually saying that the law-breakers, once they are in large numbers must not be disturbed. In several cases, some elected representatives have obstructed the compliance of the orders and occasionally created law and order situations. They have also influenced the demolition staff so as to spare the properties belonging to themselves and their friends or to conduct only nominal demolitions.

2) It is unlikely that the attitude of the legislators, corporaters, etc., would change, indeed they have demanded the immediate enactment of MPD-2021 on the basis of the provisions proposed in it for selective commercialization, increased FAR and densification of Delhi including by high-rise construction hoping to use the provisions against the spirit in which they have been prepared but merely to achieve their object of preventing demolitions of illegal constructions. It may be noted that all those provisions have been strongly opposed by reputed Town Planners and Residents Associations. All this in total disregard of the fact the urban infrastructure, potable water supply; sewage and sewerage, roads, parking areas etc. are woefully short of the needs of the existing populations. Not only have the paper plans for their development remained on paper, even the proposed urban renewal under Bharat Nirman shall similarly make little impact for several years to come. The essential point is that the Master Plans that have not been implemented in the past for lack of motivation on the part of Governments and their agencies, do not give the law-abiding citizens the confidence that MPD-2021 would be implemented any better.

3) In the circumstances, COMMON CAUSE considers that serious consideration must be given to the operating structure for land management in Delhi so that the national capital of India can develop and be managed as an attractive and modern city. In such a structure, the voice of the professional must be dominant without sacrificing accountability.

4) The implications of the above recommendation are, firstly, that `land' must remain a Central subject and neither be transferred to Delhi ` State' or its Assembly, nor to the MCD. The DDA reconstituted as a fully professional (engineering, town planning, and sanctioning) authority must administer land management with Delhi Govt., GOI, and above all the Residents Welfare Associations represented on it.

Here we should like to repeat our earlier suggestion of appointing a completely autonomous Ombudsman who should preferably be a professional town planner of repute and whose decisions must be taken as binding on all parties.

April-June 2006