NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has issued notice to National Capital Regional Planning Board (NCRPB) on a public interest litigation accusing the body of ignoring large-scale violations by states.
A division bench of Chief Justice N V Ramanna and Justice Manmohan also sought replies from the Union urban development ministry and Delhi, UP, Rajasthan and Haryana on the allegations that they were permitting unauthorized development by favouring builders.
HC posted the PIL for further hearing on January 8, 2014. Filed by one Raghuraj Singh, who claims to be a social worker and resident of Gautam Budh Nagar, the PIL assails the “haphazard and unsustainable development in the NCR, being carried out by all the states and being allowed by NCRPB.” It highlights that NCRPB’s original charter was to restrict the population growth of Delhi and to develop NCR in a balanced and sustainable manner retaining environmental equilibrium and its agrarian character.
“The present PIL is highlighting the violation of Regional Plan 2021. In that context, it is brought out that the central government and GNCT-Delhi is regularizing large number of unauthorized colonies. These colonies account for huge population and are not part of the planned development by Regional Plan 2021,” Singh’s plea argues.
It alleges that participating states are adding and the board has permitted addition of at least 288 lakh population to the area contiguous and mutually dependent with Delhi. “This by government’s own appreciation and wisdom will further attribute to more pressure on Delhi and its population that in turn will make impossible to manage Delhi and NCR. It will defeat the central, rather singular purpose for which the NCR Act was enacted and the Board was constituted,” it adds.
It is relevant to mention that the entire constitutional effort in enacting the NCR Act and constituting the board was to save Delhi by decongesting it through sustainable development of the region.
New Delhi: Montek Singh Ahluwalias adviser Gajen dra Haldea is not just in the eye of a storm involving the resignation of 16 highway engineers.
Several ministries from finance and highways to even the Planning Commission are accusing him of holding up the Eastern Peripheral Expressway around Delhi.
Official documents ac cessed by TOI show that Haldeas insistence on im posing a toll that is 1. times higher than the competing road project has horrendously delayed the award of the project by least six months.
The papers also allege that delaying this project would benefit the Western Peripheral Expressway, being developed by a private developer.
The two projects will come up on either side of the national Capital and are expected to considerably ease traffic in the city. Docu ments show that even in November, Haldea had favoured a higher toll rate and had opposed the normal rate claiming that the 135 km road was being developed as a bypass. He had mentioned that lowering toll rate would not benefit the public as this would lead to a higher government liability in the form of higher viability gap funding.
Sources in the highways ministry said the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure, while clearing the project, had mentioned that the expressway should be awarded with zero VGF An official note by Planning Commission member Sudha Pillai in September shows how despite every one agreeing to normal toll only Haldea pushed for higher rate.
In February, even the then highways secretary R S Gujral, who is now finance secretary, had said the road should be treated as a highway. Pillai had ear lier agreed with Haldea on treating the road as a bypass but agreed with Gujral view later. Then the CCI in April and PPP Appraisal Committee in May gave the nod to the projects.
Last December, NHAI and road ministry had said that Haldeas proposal of 1.5 times toll would make the EPE unviable and bring undue benefit to the WPE developer.
After facing major resistance to the concept of bus rapid transit (BRT), Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday said her government was considering dismantling the system between Ambedkar Stadium and Moolchand.
“I think so,” Dikshit said when asked whether the BRT between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand would be dismantled.
Speaking at the Idea Exchange programme of The Indian Express on Tuesday, the chief minister said Delhi was not psychologically ready for the concept.
“BRT, I am afraid and must admit, wasn’t the kind of success we had hoped it to be. Therefore, the other six corridors that were supposed to be constructed have been stopped. I think we are going to close this… I don’t think we were ready for it psychologically.”
She added that the existing corridor, opened to public in 2008, was already broken down.
Asked if dismantling the corridor would result in wastage of public funds, Dikshit said, “Do you want us to carry on with it? I can, but then things will become really bad…”
Delhi government had, in fact, abstained from giving any substantial funding to the project under the proposed budget of 2013-14. The project was allocated a paltry Rs 10 lakh out of the Rs 100 crore that the Transport department had requested for.
Following a court case and controversy related to the Ambedkar Nagar-Moolchand BRT corridor, the construction of 14 such corridors was put on hold. A report on the corridor by Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), produced before the court, had also suggested a removal of the BRT.
However, the government has already spent money on assigning agencies such as DIMTS to carry out preliminary studies on some of the proposed BRT corridors.
Meanwhile, touching upon Congress’s manifesto promises of constructing double-decker flyovers and introduction of monorail and trams in Delhi, Dikshit said tackling increasing number of cars and traffic volume was one of the greatest challenges in Delhi.
“I have spoken of double-decker flyovers, which we need to take up. The traffic here is growing enormously. Everybody knows we have the largest number of cars. Tackling this is one of our greatest challenges. We will bring in the monorail and the tram system, which is being revitalised in many European countries,” Dikshit said.
The first monorail is planned to be constructed between Shastri Park and Trilokpuri in Delhi.
“It was going to be a first-of-its-kind initiative in India, therefore, it has been taking time,” Dikshit said.
19 Nov, 2013, 0400 hrs IST, YASHODHARA DASGUPTA, ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: The inter-ministerial committee set up to fast track the much-delayed Delhi-Jaipur expressway has zeroed in on two options to make the project viable.
The highways ministry may either allow the developer to collect the toll from the adjacent Delhi-Gurgaon and Gurgaon-Jaipur highway stretches or, the expressway could also be built via the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) route, using funding from multilateral agencies, if necessary.
The department of economic affairs will look into whether the government can get the amount of money required to finance the project through EPC route, said a senior highways ministry official. The concession for the Gurgaon-Jaipur stretch will expire in March 2022 while that of the Delhi-Gurgaon stretch will expire in January 2023.
Once these concessions expire, the expressway developer can collect toll from these highway stretches and would have to augment or upgrade the highway as well thus eliminating the aspect of competition between the two projects.
The ministry is also mulling that no revenue would flow to the government during the construction period as per a new model concession agreement that would be created for this project.
Under this option, the ministry expects that it would not be necessary to provide any viability gap funding to the developer by the government. The total project cost in this case for the concessionaire would be around Rs 9,000 crore.
The highways ministry is also planning to market the project overseas through road shows once all clearances are in place to attract foreign investors in light of the near zero interest of Indian private players in public private partnership (PPP) highway projects.
“In addition, we are also looking at the EPC route to build the project. The DEA has to see if they can open a window of borrowing of this magnitude. They have asked for time to do this,” said the official.
Building the project via EPC would require about Rs 7,500 crore (excluding cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and so on). In total, the project would cost about Rs 14,000 crore. “After building the project on EPC, it would be given out for operation and maintenance, and the investment can be recouped through the toll collection. If government does not have the money, we could borrow from multilateral agencies like World Bank or ABD who lend at concessional rates and they can be repaid from the toll revenue,” said another official aware of the development.
NEW DELHI: Around two dozen farmhouses have come up illegally in the Aravalis without prior government approval while hospitality and adventure companies have built tourist facilities including swimming pools in the restricted zone, particularly in Roz Ka Gujjar adjoining Damdama lake.
After conducting surveys of the violations in areas falling under the Aravalis in Gurgaon and Mewat districts, Haryana State Pollution Control Board has filed an affidavit before National Green Tribunal mentioning the irregularities and violations of norms. These include construction of rooms, palatial complexes, digging of tube wells and building of boundary walls.
The violators includes top urban planners, industrialists, entrepreneurs, businessmen, NRIs, celebrities, retired defence officers. Majority of them are from Delhi.
While some violations are major in nature such as construction of farmhouse, in most cases, property owners have gone for construction of additional rooms, boundary walls and concrete roads.
As per Aravali notification of May 1992 issued by the ministry of environment and forests, certain activities are restricted in specified Aravali ranges, which cause environmental degradation. It said activities like cutting of trees, construction of dwelling units, farmhouses and sheds must get prior approval of the central government. Restricted zones include all forests, common hills, water bodies.
After the NGT took up the case of green violations suo motu based on a TOI report, the HSPCB constituted five teams to conduct surveys. The teams conducted detailed surveys along with representatives of revenue department to identify violations in areas including Raisina, Aravali Retreat, Golden Height and Roz Ka Gujjar, where most of the farmhouses are located.
The teams found 310 violations of the notification in which cases have already been filed in the special environment court. The survey teams also reported that most violators had made repeat violations by carrying out construction after cases were filed against them. The teams also identified 103 fresh violations.
New Delhi: After a wait of almost two decades, a man will finally be able to get his dream home from Delhi Development Authority, thanks to intervention by a Delhi consumer forum. The court pulled up DDA for its non-serious and casual approach and directed it to allot a flat to Harvansh Malik in the same area where he was allotted a flat in 2001 but denied possession on account of a slip-up by the agency.
Malik, incidentally a DDA employee himself, was first allotted a flat in 1993 but a confusion over mode of payment led to its cancellation. The complainant alleged the allotment letter issued to him on September 25,1993, did not mention that the payment had to be made on cash down basis. The demand letter issued to him in October 1993, however, stated it had to be made in one go. Malik requested for the payment mode to be changed but his request was kept pending for a long time and ultimately cancelled.
In March 2001, Malik was allotted a flat in west Delhis Peera Garhi. However, the allotment letter was sent to a wrong address and returned undelivered. Fed up with a long wait, Malik enquired about the status of the flat and was told it was cancelled. The district consumer forum found serious fault with the manner in which the flats allotted to Malik in 1993 and 2001 were cancelled.
DDA has committed serious deficiency and shown negligence in not considering the request of the allottee for change of mode of payment from cash down to hire purchase, the district consumer forum said. The bench comprising president Narendra Kumar of Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum VII slammed DDA for its arbitrariness in not even considering Maliks request for conversion of mode of payment.
It appears no efforts were made to find out the correct address of the complainant who was an employee of DDA, the court noted. It directed the DDA to allot a new flat to Malik within 30 days in the same location but dismissed Maliks plea of seeking the flat at the same rate that was prevalent in the year 2001.
NEW DELHI: Residents of Alaknanda have filed a PIL questioning clearances given to a mall likely to come up in the cramped residential area of Alaknanda. The mall, spread over 7.3 lakh sq ft, is a commercial project of Reliance Eminent Trading and Commercial Pvt Ltd.
This 3.6 acre-plot was allegedly meant for a sports and community centre, but the Delhi Development Authority sold it on a freehold basis for Rs 304 crore, a source said.
The litigants—from a registered body called Citizens’ Alliance—are not just from Alaknanda but also from CR Park, DDA flats in Kalkaji, NRI Complex and GK-II. “Around 2,000 residents wrote to LG Najeeb Jung but we received no response. Has anyone considered how much air pollution will be caused by the mall? And why should the residents be exposed to it?” asked a member of the alliance.
In the petition, residents have pointed out several discrepancies like DDA allegedly creating a “fictitious” road on map to justify how traffic can flow in the area once the mall comes up; violation of master plan; no ground-level air pollution study by the environment ministry to assess its impact on air quality, etc.
The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued notices to DDA, DUAC, State level Environment Impact Assessment Authority, National Disaster Management Authority and others. The case will next be heard on January 15, 2014.
New Delhi: Delhi government does not want Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to take up any work for Metro network in Lucknow. The city government has cautioned DMRC from taking up any interim consultancy work, which may cause embarrassment to the organization at a later stage.
Sources said Delhi chief secretary Deepak Mohan Spolia wrote a letter to the DMRC managing director last week suggesting the agency not to make a commitment to the UP government. The issue was also raised in the DMRC board meeting last week.
This will have direct impact on the timeframe that UP government has proposed for completion of the first phase of 24 km in the city. The delay to get even an interim consultant will mean the projects deadline will get extended, said a government official.
UP government has approved the first phase of the Metro project estimated at Rs 8,000 crore. The north-south corridor would connect Lucknow Airport to Munshi Pulia. The first phase of the project is set to be complete by 2016-17.
Though DMRC officials confirmed receiving the Delhi government letter, they refused to comment. Spolia could not be reached.
This is the second time Delhi government has opposed DMRC taking up work in UP. Earlier, the government had objected to DMRCs role in extension of two Metro corridors in Noida and Ghazaibad claiming that the corporation has too much work.
In her letter to A K Antony, who heads the GoM on mass transit system, Dikshit said maintaining the Delhi Metro is a demanding task and diverting its resources may adversely affect its functioning.
Delhi government has equal say in DMRC, like that of Central government, since the public sector body has 50:50 partnership.
NEW DELHI: National capital’s tony Khan Market is the most expensive retail market in the country even though its ranking worldwide has dropped two places to 28.
Monthly rentals at Khan Market stood at Rs 1,250 per sq ft as of June, 2013, up by just 2 per cent from the year-ago period, according to global property consultant Cushman and Wakefield’s (C&W) report ‘Main Streets Across the World 2013′.
When it comes to rental appreciation, Panjagutta in Hyderabad with 29 per cent growth is placed 8th in the list of global rental movement ranking of 2013.
South Extension in New Delhi is at 17th position with an annual rental growth of 20 per cent. Kutuzovsky Prospekt in Moscow recorded the highest rental growth of 42 per cent.
“In the global ranking of most expensive retail locations, Khan Market in New Delhi emerged as the 28th most expensive in the world, retaining its position as most expensive retail location in India,” C&W said.
“India (Khan Market) however, dropped in the global ranking from 26th to 28th position due to the weakening of the Indian rupee against US dollar and largely stable rentals with limited increment in rental values in established retailing sectors,” it added.
Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay has emerged as the world’s most expensive retail location, followed by New York’s 5th Avenue, as per the report that ranks the most expensive locations in the top 334 shopping destinations across 64 countries.
Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris is ranked third, while New Bond Street in London, Ginza in Tokyo are at 4th and 5th places respectively.
Khan Market witnessed high demand from retailers but due to limited availability and transactions, rental values have only seen a marginal increase, it said.
Commenting on the report, C&W executive managing director South Asia Sanjay Dutt said: “While retail rentals globally registered a slower growth of 3.2 per cent as compared to previous year on account of slowdown in economic uncertainties in the leading markets, the Asian markets saw a better average of rental increase at 4.5 per cent in the same period.”
The economic risk remains for 2014, but conditions are expected to steadily improve across most markets, he said.
“The retailers’ push towards the best and most sought after locations will continue. However, limited supply and higher rental costs will create obstacles for some brands, leading a number of retailers to look at alternative locations in close proximity to the main thoroughfares,” he added.
On Indian retail locations, Mumbai’s Linking Road (Rs 750/sq ft/month) emerged as the second most expensive retail location in the country despite a correction of 11.8 per cent in rental over last year. Connaught Place and South Extension are third and fourth positions with a rental of Rs 725 per sq ft in a month.
Bangalore’s Brigade road and Mumbai’s Linking Road stood at 6th and 11th positions respectively in the list of world’s top 15 markets to saw the sharpest retail rental decline.
A city court in October pulled up the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for lacunae in their investigation into a case where government officials were accused of not conducting demolitions of unauthorised constructions in 2002.
The court on October 19 acquitted three accused in the case, including MCD engineer Ajay Kumar Shrotriya. While giving a clean chit to the trio, Additional Sessions Judge Anoop Kumar Mendiratta observed that the CBI had neglected to probe the “deeper” nexus between builders, their political bosses and officials from MCD.
“The premier investigating agency was expected to thoroughly investigate the case since the FIR was registered by CBI and the investigation commenced on the directions issued by the High Court… I am also constrained to point out that the investigating agency at its whims and fancies carried the investigation ignoring the role of any other junior engineer posted prior to or after Ajay Kumar Shrotriya in the concerned ward. A clean chit has been given to the Assistant Engineer, EE (executive engineer) and DC (deputy commissioner) along with builders and political bosses without bothering to investigate their role,” the judge observed.
The court directed MCD commissioners to take appropriate departmental actions against engineers who were found liable for not undertaking demolition action when required.
The court asked the three MCD commissioners to submit action taken report in the matter within eight weeks.
Judge Mendiratta also emphasised on the need to take quick action in cases of unauthorised constructions since the practice had grown over the years. He pointed out the fact that unauthorised basements were being constructed in violation of bye-laws, resulting in numerous instances of collapse of buildings.
As a remedy, he suggested: “FIRs need to be immediately booked against the owner or builder under relevant provisions of Delhi Municipal Corporation Act and also action be taken against JE (joint engineer), AE (assistant engineer) or EE (executive engineer) concerned if found to be in dereliction of duty or colluding by ignoring the compliance of the provisions of building bye-laws.”