NEW DELHI: At one level the city government is preparing a comprehensive plan to combat climate change and at another, civic society is taking matters in its own hands, calling the government’s measures so far to be unsystematic with a misplaced sense of priority. Environmentalists and activists have come together to develop a vision document on Delhi’s environment till 2025.
The first meeting concluded that for wholesome development, Delhi needs to look at social justice. Dr Amita Baviskar, associate professor of Sociology at the Institute of Economic Growth strongly advocated for it.
Making a strong case against ‘bourgeois environmentalism’, she said, “We are living in a city which mimics segregation earlier seen during South Africa’s apartheid phase. Thousands of people were relocated from the Yamuna banks in an effort to clean the embankment but the city is neither cleaner nor greener. The working class is paying a price after being moved to resettlement colonies with no basic amenities and travelling three hours to get to their workplace. The government has a misplaced sense of priority for which it has consensus from the middle class. They want a world class city like Singapore but not its environmental or social infrastructure.”
The point about incorporating the lower rung and working classes was also made in the context of transport infrastructure. The city has added more than 10,000 km of roads and 60 flyovers in the last 10 years. However, no space has been dedicated to either walking or cycling, especially when 35% of Delhiites own bicycles.
Rajendra Ravi, director, Institute for Democracy and Sustainability said, “When the BRT was made, those opposing it claimed that value of the time of a person driving a car was more than that of a poor person and so cars should be prioritized over buses. This is absolutely unconstitutional and the government should focus on shifting from personal to public transport.”Suhas Borker, founder member, Green Circle of Delhi said, “To get out of the ‘ad hocism mode’ led by city politicos in our approach to environmental issues , we have to bring about a mindset change with equity, sustainability, transparency and strong civil society participation. Without political will we cannot handle them.
The need for macro level planning in the matter of land use was considered essential. Dr Mahesh N Buch, chairman of the National Centre for Human Settlements and Environment and Manoj Misra, convenor of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan said in the absence of proper planning, the city has been expanding in a unsystematic manner. The Yamuna bed has been violated in the desire to concretise more area.
NEW DELHI: The government agencies such as the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) which are in construction of residential projects will have to be answerable to the real estate regulator if the houses delivered by them are not up to the mark.
“The provisions of the real estate regulation bill approved by the Union cabinet will apply to government agencies, including DDA,” said housing minister Ajay Maken. The legislation, likely to be placed before Parliament in the coming monsoon session, aims to promote fair-play in real estate transactions and introduce penal provisions for developers who do not stick to norms.
At present, there is no way homebuyers can voice their resentment against government agencies like the DDA, the Ghaziabad Development Authority or the NOIDA Authority that provide housing even if the material used is not of promised standards or delay in delivery.
The ambit of the proposed law is quite large and seeks to cover all major private residential developments across the country as the bill applies to all projects developed over 1,000 sq metres or the number of apartments proposed to be developed exceed 12.
However, Delhi has a peculiar problem as the builders are constructing on lesser area so will be out of ambit of the law. But Maken said the Delhi authorities can lower the criteria according to the need of the state. In Delhi, the urban development ministry will have the power to set up a real estate regulator since Delhi’s land comes under the DDA and L and DO, which are central agencies.
The bill, when enacted into a law, will ensure that home users get timely possession of properties. Besides, as per specifications promised the developer will have to disclose time schedule for the delivery along with layout plan and details of all statutory clearances obtained from the regulator ahead of launching of the project.
Maken, eyeing middle-class voters in urban areas for Congress, said, “The aim of the bill is to restore confidence of the public in the real estate sector which will enable the sector to access capital and financial markets essential for its long term growth.”
He was hopeful that states will implement the bill as 22 states have supported it. Only Chhattisgarh opposed the bill.
NEW DELHI: The National Monuments Authority has identified Aga Khan Trust for Culture and School of Planning and Architecture as authorities for framing heritage bylaws in Delhi and has sent a proposal to the ministry of culture to notify them as expert heritage bodies. Reach Foundation in Chennai has also been identified to help with bylaws for monuments in the southern part of the country.
At present, the amended ASI Act of 2010 only lists India National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage for the framing of bylaws. Post-notification, AKTC would be accountable for the monuments in Nizamuddin while SPA would focus on structures in Mehrauli. Sources said the notification is expected soon.
The delay in notification of bylaws already submitted to NMA is a cause of concern. In Delhi, bylaws for Sher Shah Gate and Khair-ul-Manzil were submitted to Archaeological Survey of India over a year ago but not officially notified.
According to NMA officials, the bylaws have been approved in principle. Bylaws for Farrukhnagar in Haryana and a recent submission from the Baroda circle in Gujarat have also come to NMA. “These bylaws are being examined and will be put up on the website ,” said a senior NMA official. ASI has also approved the 13 typologies prepared by Intach based on which it has framed bylaws for 47 monuments nationwide. Two categories include 13 monuments each in Goa and Madhya Pradesh.
Under the typology for living monuments which receive large number of visitors, Dwarkadheesh temple in Dwarka, Gujarat, will have bylaws prepared accordingly. In the category for protected monuments and sites located in urban areas of historic character, Intach and ASI have identified the Charminar in Hyderabad. The entire project includes over 3,600 monuments.
Monuments like Begampuri Masjid and Agrasen ki Baoli have been covered in the typologies and are awaiting approval by ASI. “The typologies are being used to frame bylaws for monuments under similar settings. While framing the bylaws for Begumpuri Masjid, nearby monuments like Bijai Mandal and Sarai Shahji would also be covered,” a source said.
NEW DELHI: Godrej Properties today announced its foray into the property market of the national capital by signing a development agreement with Southend Infrastructure for 5-acre luxury group housing project in Okhla.
In a filing to the BSE, Godrej Properties said that its subsidiary Wonder Space Properties “has signed a development agreement with Southend Infrastructure for the development of plot of land measuring 5.15 acres (approx 20877 sq metres)” in Okhla Phase-I.
“The project will be developed as a luxury residential group housing project,” Godrej Properties, part of Godrej Group, said in a statement.
The land is strategically located on the main road going towards Mathura road from Greater Kailash, it added.
This will be the Godrej Properties’ first development in New Delhi and its third in NCR. The company has currently two residential projects in Gurgaon.
“We are happy to enter our first project in New Delhi. NCR is key part of our growth strategy and we believe this project’s strategic locations will help grow our presence in the region,” Godrej Properties Managing Director and CEO Pirojsha Godrej said.
At present, the Mumbai-based company is developing residential, commercial and township projects spread across about 85 million sq ft in 12 cities.
Godrej Properties posted a net profit of Rs 122.67 crore over a revenue of Rs 426.71 crore during 2012-13.
The process of burning solid waste to convert it to energy at a recycling plant in South Delhi has made the air near the unit 25 times more polluted than the permissible limit, a surprise check of the Okhla waste-to-energy plant has revealed.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to conduct a check. The board submitted the findings of the expert committee to the tribunal last week.
According to the report, the levels of dioxin, furan and particulate matter around the Okhla plant is far beyond limits.
The level of dioxin and furan emitted from Boiler Stack I was measured at 12.4 ng TEQ/Nm3 and from Stack II at 2.8 ng TEQ/Nm3. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee allows 0.1 ng TEQ/Nm3.
Dioxins and furans are toxic substances released from burning plastic and cause a range of ailments including cancer.
Particulate matter — smoke or soot — contains tiny, noxious components such as acid that stick together. When inhaled, these can cling to organs and cause lung and heart problems.
Stack II emission for particulate matter was measured at 1,414 mg/Nm3 while the DPCC only allows for 150 mg/Nm3.
“The higher value of particulate matter in Stack II indicates that either the Bag Filter House is not functioning properly or the bag filter fabrics might be damaged and need to be replaced. According to visual observations, emission from Stack II was darker than Stack I during monitoring,” the report said.
The committee is yet to test for presence of mercury and other heavy metals.
The Sukhdev Vihar Residents’ Welfare Association has been claiming for long that environment norms had been violated at the Okhla plant.
The case, filed by the RWA, started at the Delhi High Court in 2009 and was later shifted to the NGT, which started hearing it earlier this year. The plant started operation in January 2012.
In April, an NGT-appointed commissioner reported that the fly ash leftover from the burnt waste was “truly hazardous” and it could easily escape and be ingested.
After the report was submitted, the NGT ruled that the agencies responsible must ensure that the toxic chemicals are “brought well below permissible levels”.
The CPCB official on the committee declined comment, stating that the case was still being heard by the NGT.
Another member of the committee, who is also a scientist and resident of the area, U C Bahri, wrote in his statement: “How can we expect that by making minor changes in the plant design the dioxins and furans reported… can be reduced to .1 ng/TEQ/Nm3? It is childish on part of senior officials and scientist(s) to suggest modifications for bringing it down to the prescribed limit.”
The DPCC, which commissioned the Okhla plant, is in the process of commissioning two waste-to-energy plants, expected to be operational by 2014.
Boiler Stack I
Dioxins and furans
(in ng TEQ/Nm3)
Boiler Stack II
Dioxins and furans
(in ng TEQ/Nm3)
After inaugurating a slew of elevated roads along the Outer Ring Road, the Delhi government is expected to lay the foundation stone for another one that will come up between Prem Bari Pul and Azadpur. The latest stretch is expected to make the Ring Road signal-free, Public Works Department (PWD) officials said.
The government has been concentrating on inaugurating all big infrastructure projects before the code of conduct, for the upcoming Assembly elections, is issued.
“This project will be taken up along a 2.1-km stretch from Prem Bari Pul to Azadpur and will consist of a 1.6-km long elevated road. Once this road is built, the entire Ring Road will be signal-free. The project is expected to cost Rs 247 crore,” PWD minister Raj Kumar Chauhan said.
Officials said the elevated road would decongest areas such as Ashok Vihar, Shalimar Bagh and Wazirpur. Work on this project has already begun and is likely to be completed in 2015, PWD officials said.
“The elevated road at Azadpur will begin after the underpass at Prem Bari Pul and end before the Azadpur railway overbridge,” a PWD official said.
After this project, the Congress-led government is likely to inaugurate four flyovers along the Outer Ring Road between Mukarba Chowk and Wazirabad.
“The flyovers are likely to be inaugurated by June 25. The project will cost around Rs 542 crore and is part of the bigger project to make the 17-km stretch along the Outer Ring Road, from Vikaspuri to Wazirabad, signal-free,” the official said.
The first of the elevated roads on the Outer Ring Road, between Vikaspuri and Meera Bagh in West Delhi, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on February 26 and the second corridor, from Mangolpuri to Madhuban Chowk, on May 12. The third elevated stretch, set to come up between Madhuban Chowk to Mukarba Chowk, was inaugurated on May 26.
On the anvil
Fourth elevated road on Outer Ring Road
Expected to make Outer Ring Road signal-free
Length of elevated road: 1.6 km
Will run between: Prem Bari Pul and Azadpur (2.1 km)
Project cost: Rs 247 cr
To be completed by: 2015
Four more flyovers to be inaugurated by June 25 to be built between Vikaspuri and Meera Bagh
Project cost: Rs 542 cr
GURGAON: Despite numerous traffic problems on Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and ongoing court cases, there has been no decline in toll collection revenue in the past year. The 32-lane toll plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway earned Rs 119 crore through toll collection during one year from April 2012 to March 2013.
The collection has taken place in spite of the toll collection dipping by 82.5% in September 2012 as compared to the previous month when Punjab and Haryana high court had banned toll collection for over 20 days over the issue of the worsening traffic chaos at the toll plaza.
Last September, the toll collection declined to Rs 1.8 crore, whereas for August the figure stood at Rs 10.5 crore. In fact, the average toll collection for April ’12-March ’13 except for September comes to Rs 10.7 crore per month. Punjab and Haryana high court had restrained the private concessionaire, Delhi-Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL), from collecting toll from September 4 for 15 days initially, but regular tolling resumed only on October 9. However, the high court had allowed toll collection for private vehicles barring peak hours from September 28 onwards.
The toll collection at the other two toll plazas – Kherki Dhaula and IGI – of the e-way stood at Rs 76.8 crore and Rs 1.06 crore respectively between April 2012 and March 2013.
This information was revealed in RTI replies to Gurgaon resident Aseem Takyar, an RTI activist. Takyar has sought information toll collection and related matters through a series of RTI queries.
In one such reply, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) stated that the total collection done by the concessionaire from January 2008 to August 2011 was Rs 359 crore at the 32-lane toll plaza, Rs 218 crore at Kherki Dhaula and Rs 5.3 crore at the IGI toll plaza.
In response to the query on the amount of investment made by the concessionaire, the NHAI replied that as per the concession agreement, the total project cost is Rs 555 crore. However, what the NHAI did not mention in its reply was that the project cost shot upto Rs 1,200 crore when it was finally completed.
To a query on whether there is any surprise inspection system in place with the NHAI and receipts are duly issued by the concessionaire and any action taken for non-compliance, The NHAI replied that no surprise inspection system was available in the concession agreement and audits were performed from time to time. The NHAI replied that it had no obligation to appoint additional auditors at its cost, when asked what sort of control and audit was put in place over the system of the collection of toll by it.
NEW DELHI: A court has restored ownership of a plot in Mehrauli to its rightful owner who was evicted forcibly more than 20 years ago.
Additional sessions judge Daya Prakash granted possession of the property to Murali Dhar, taking note of the fact that in 1989 he was forcibly evicted by trespassers, despite possessing the sale deed of the land. The ASJ also said the local police would step in to ensure the current occupants are evicted.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by Murali Dhar against the order of a magistrate who had dismissed his plea to restore the property to him despite those accused of encroaching on his land being convicted for trespassing in 2008. The judge agreed with Dhar’s argument that the sale-deed showed he had bought the land from the father of the accused, who later took possession forcibly.
According to Dhar, the sale deed was executed in 1989 and his mother and he were in continuous physical and actual possession of the land since 1970s. Dhar and his mother had constructed a boundary wall and two rooms, installed a hand pump on the property and also appointed a guard. After he was evicted, Dhar lodged an FIR naming three people who were later chargesheeted by police.
While restoring the Mehrauli property to Murali Dhar, the ASJ said that the local police would step in to ensure the current occupants are evicted.
NEW DELHI: In a big relief for commuters of satellite towns like Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Faridabad aspiring for a Metro ride, the Delhi Metro will continue to implement projects across the NCR as the Planning Commission has turned down the Delhi government’s demand to restrict the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) operations within the national Capital’s boundary.
Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit had expressed concern that the DMRC’s network is extending far and wide, with its expansion in neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Fears abound that losses incurred by the DMRC while operating in these neighbouring states may affect the finances of the Delhi government, which has 50% share in the DMRC, but the Commission is not ready to buy the argument.
“Economic logic and past performance of DMRC dictate that for planning and implementing Metro rail, it is preferred to take entire NCR as a geographical unit and not the boundary of Delhi,” the Commission said in its note.
The Plan panel has come out with a likely solution suggesting that the DMRC may maintain separate accounts for different routes which will ensure that loss incurred on a stretch falling outside the national Capital could be borne by the state government concerned.
Dikshit has said the announcements by the two state governments were made without the approval of the Group of Ministers (GoM) — headed by defence minister A K Antony — and also without consulting the Delhi government. She has also argued that the DMRC needs to focus more on maintenance and repair of stretches built in the first phase of the decade-old network.
According to sources, the Delhi government has strongly stated that the DMRC should not be given work outside the national Capital for now as the Metro Corporation is already executing the project’s phase III along with preparing a detailed project report for phase IV.
The city government is worried about the announcement of Metro extensions in neighbouring states.
Haryana has decided to extend the Metro to Ballabhgarh in Faridabad, and also announced that the rail link would be extended upto Manesar in Gurgaon.
The Greater Noida Authority has also announced the extension of the Noida link beyond the existing City Centre.
The concern in the city administration is that maintaining the huge infrastructure of the Delhi Metro is a massive task and diverting its resources to satellite towns in neighbouring states may adversely affect its functioning and maintenance in Delhi.
Delhi Metro is the first network in the country and following its success, several states have been demanding similar networks in their own cities. The DMRC’s expertise and resources are being provided to many of them.
NEW DELHI: People in West Delhi can now expect hassle-free registration of properties with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today launching an online system to ensure transparency and offer people a seamless experience.
Introducing the new system at the Basai Darapur sub-registrar office in West Delhi, Dikshit said her government was making systemic changes to ensure transparency in governance.
“The Revenue Department intends to overhaul the conventional registration process with state of the art online facilities,” said Dikshit.
Delhi Revenue Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely and a number of senior officers were present on the occasion.
Under the new system, people will be able to get their properties registered on the same day of filing of application.
The system will be highly secured as proper audit trail and cross verification of transaction would be ensured. Officials said the online system will ensure transparency and eliminate the role of middlemen in the registration process.
Speaking on the occasion, Lovely said Revenue department was determined to completely rid the property registration system of touts and middlemen by making the entire registration process transparent and accessible.
The Sub Registrar Office has been renovated at a cost of Rs 7.30 crore.
An official said under the new system, each applicant will have to come to the sub-registrar office with a pre-fixed appointment. The appointment can be taken online by accessing the website of the Revenue department.
The registered documents will be delivered to the applicant the very same day and in case their documents are rejected, they will be informed in writing on the same day.
Basai Darapur sub-registrar office is the fifth such office to have the online property registration system in the city.
The government plans to introduce the online registration service in all 13 sub-registrar offices by end of this year.
The facility has already been introduced in sub-registrar offices at Mehrauli, Rohini, Nand Nagri and Kapashera.
“The entire process of registration has been re-engineered, making it hassle free,” said Dikshit.
The Chief Minister also slammed the BJP for making “baseless” allegations of corruption against her government to gain “political mileage”.