Delhi Development Authority (DDA)
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Vacant land owned by DDA
The Times of India Nov 17 2014
Vacant Plots Nearly Size Of Lutyens' Zone
The Delhi Development Authority is sitting on vacant land worth Rs 1 lakh crore in the capital, the consolidated size of which nearly equals the area of Lutyens’ Delhi.
Incredibly, DDA had little idea about the extent of its holdings till the results of an internal survey came in 10 days ago. It revealed that the authority owned 5,484 acre of undeveloped land, including thousands of square metres in locations like Vasant Kunj and Defence Colony.
If all these plots could be put together in one place, it would yield a 22sq km patch of land — around 85% of the area of 26 sq km Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone.
The survey, for the first time, has given DDA a clear picture of its realty assets. It is now getting in touch with former MLAs and MPs of these areas to help decide how these lands could be developed. The survey has been uploaded on the authority’s website. It also gives details about thousands of square metres of land, par ticularly in east and north Delhi, that have been encroached . The area under litigation is around 300 acres.
Knowledge of vacant land will enable DDA to plan better. For instance, 756 acres of public-semi-public land space in various pockets of Rohini means opportunities for amenities such as hospitals and schools in the area. The huge chunks of land marked for residential use, for instance 54,600 sq m near Dilshad Garden, of which two-thirds is encroached upon, could be freed and used to solve the housing crunch in east Delhi. Around 2,000 acres of land, mostly in north Delhi, which DDA hasn't planned for yet, is a pool whose land-use DDA could decide on a need basis.
The report also provides transparency in DDA 's real estate management, which is often subject to charges of corruption. The authority is working towards uploading layout plans of each of it plots.
“This is for the first time in DDA 's history that the whole inventory of land, whose worth we estimate to be more than Rs 1 lakh crore, has been compiled and put in the public domain.Technology is being leveraged to ensure its protection and monitoring,“ said Balvinder Kumar, vice-chairperson, DDA.
He added that uploading details of the land would serve to prevent underhand deals and the possibility of DDA officers colluding with the land mafia.
Kumar said, with this newly acquired information, DDA was looking at auctioning land that has been earmarked for commercial use. “ Also we are looking to redefine land uses.The land use was earmarked a long time ago. Based on current needs, we may change industrial land use to residential,“ he said.
DDA has earlier changed the status of several pockets of land to `mixed use'. As housing now has a higher priority than before, the authority is looking to tap into its combined land pool to identify sites for group housing societies.
December 2016: 1,613 acres acquired but not occupied
The Times of India, December 18, 2016
Dipak Dash Lack Of Synergy With Delhi Govt To Blame: CAG
Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has lost 1,613 acres of land, which is three times the size of President's Estate, even after acquiring them as it failed to take physical possession of these land parcels. DDA has admitted this to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) citing how the land acquisition law enacted during UPA benefited original land owners.
CAG in its latest report on management of land by DDA management of land by DDA has highlighted how the lack of coordination between the authority and Delhi government resulted in failure to procure the land parcels for development. The central auditor has referred to 1,566 acres of land in its report, which fall in Bakkarwala, Tikri Kalan, Malikpur Kohi Rangpuri, Bamnoli, Nasirpur, Kirari Suleman Nagar and Madanpur Dabas.
“It was noticed in respect of seven cases of acquisition, although the awards for acquisition of 2,052 acres of land were announced before January 1, 2009, physical possession of only 486 acres of land was received up to October 2016. As such, land measuring 1,566 acres has not been received up to October 2016. The acquisition of this may lapse in view of the enactment of Right to Fair Compen sation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. This, the purpose of acquisition of land would get defeated, delaying the benefit of development to citizens , “ the report said.
TOI in April 2015 had first reported how the land acquisition Act of 2014 had benefited a section of landowners in Delhi.In a series of judgements, the Delhi high court had even scrapped acquisition of several acres of land in Delhi by government agencies, some of them dating back to 1986. DDA officials had admitted that about 150 such judgements had come and that they had written to the Delhi government and urban development ministry to probe whether there was a collusion between farmers and land acquisition collectors.
The land parcels were returned to owners due to section 24 (2) of UPA's land acquisition law of 2013, which says where an award has been made five years or earlier from the date the act came into force in 2014, the land award can be cancelled if physical possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has not been paid. The CAG also mentions this provision in its report.
A check on encroachment
The Times of India Jan 08 2015
DDA staff to check encroachment
Less than two months after an internal survey revealed that the Delhi Development Authority was sitting on undeveloped land roughly the size of Lutyens' Delhi, the authority has discovered more such `goldmines' in the capital.
It now turns out that DDA's vacant landholdings in Delhi total 7,000 acres, 1,500 acres more than what the survey revealed.
Part of this additional land was added by DDA's assistant engineers after being directed to file an affidavit stating no more undeclared DDA land remained in their zones. Some local politicians and social workers also helped DDA identify their land parcels across the city.
DDA now owns 1,742 plots in various zones of Delhi, about 90 of which are encroached upon and close to 40 under litigation. The greatest chunk of vacant land, ready for development, is in Narela (northwest Delhi). South Delhi, too, has yielded a surprisingly large chunk of 145 acres. The results of the first-of-itskind internal survey of DDA land, completed in November, revealed that the authority owned 5,484 acres of undeveloped tracts in the city. The authority is now working to protect and develop its recently discovered gold mine.
“Identifying our land parcels was quite tough. Nobody wanted to share information. I had to ask engineers to sign affidavits that no more undeclared land lay in their jurisdiction and push other agencies to reveal information. Several individuals came forward to help,” said Balvinder Kumar, vice-chairperson, DDA.
The next step is to protecting the land that’s not yet been encroached upon. “We have uploaded information of all our resources on a cloud-based software, which can be accessed from anywhere. Our officers have been given android-based smartphones and have been asked to photograph land par cels in their jurisdiction,” said a senior authority official.
The official added that these photographs carrying a geographical time-stamp will be periodically uploaded on the software. The procedure is meant to instill timely monitoring of the land and accountability for DDA 's engineers.
DDA has also engaged a private firm to satellite-map and photograph its land. “The photos will be compared from time to time and construction or any deviation will be reported to our quick response teams,“ Kumar added. DDA has set up five QRTs to protect its lands.
The third step, one of planning and allotting its vacant lands, will be taken in a few days. “ After we get all the data, we'll begin utilizing the land optimally . We want to give land to group housing societies, for construction of flats for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and for high-end luxury flats, for flats for senior citizens, and for social infrastructure including hospitals,“ said Kumar.
Burari land “exclusively“ rented to Nirankaris
Since 2012-13, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has blocked a large chunk of land in Burari “exclusively“ for events organised by Sant Nirankari Mandal. The site measuring 2.38 lakh sq m (23.8 hectares) is not available to the general public as it can't be booked online despite a direction from the then lieutenant governor, Najeeb Jung.
“Blocking this site exclusively for Sant Nirankari Mandal since 2012 essentially allows perpetual possession of a large chunk of land (23.865 ha approx) by the Mandal as this site is not available for online booking by general public,“ said Jung in a note to DDA in February 2016. He objected to this, saying that it “usurps the booking rights of general public“. TOI has a copy of the note.
In 2015 and 2016, the site -located along Outer Ring Road -was booked five times (for nearly 168 days) each year, said a DDA official in-charge of the land. This is despite a policy change on temporary allotment of land for religious purpose by DDA in April 2015. Under this, it was decided to slash the booking period from “120 days to 30 days“. DDA also has a policy that registered societies can book “twice a year for a maximum period of 45 days each under freenominal category“.
While seeking permission to allot the site to Sant Nirankari Mandal, DDA had said that it was not made avai lable online as it would cause “difficulties“ to the former in case other organisations or individuals booked the site online. “The ground that if any organisationindividual books the site online (it) will cause difficulties to Sant Nirankari Mandal is not justifiable. This usurps the booking rights of the general public,“ Jung had observed, directing DDA to frame a transparent policy for streamlining the procedure for temporary allotment of land.
Following the LG's direction, DDA reworked its policy in May last year but this site is still not available for online booking. DDA officials don't have a clear explanation. The land disposal department, which is responsible for framing of policy and allotment of land, says it has not received information regarding this site from the engineering division for making it online. “We will soon put the site under the online booking system,“ said an official.
DDA officials told TOI that other organizations too have been given the land but booking is done only if their dates don't clash with Mandal's events. DDA's north zone has been allotting this land to the Mandal since 2009 but the latter claims that they have been holding events here for the past 20 years. Kripa Sagar, media incharge of Sant Nirankari Mandal, said: “We have been doing our samagams here for the past 20 years. There has been no dispute so far. We follow the procedure and all necessary payments have been made to DDA.“
At a time when there is a huge demand for land in the city and Delhi government has been asking for land for its various projects, DDA is not utilizing this large chunk of land for development or for boosting its revenue.According to a DDA spokesperson, “So far, there is no development project planned at this site.“
Flats constructed by DDA
Heavy fine for returning DDA flats
May Forfeit Even Full Earnest Money
Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has decided to levy a penalty , ranging from 25-100% of the earnest money , to ensure only serious buyers apply for its new housing scheme that is likely to be announced in mid-June.
Officials said the step was being taken to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2014 when 50% of the flats were returned by allottees. However, resident welfare associa tions are not happy with the land-owning agency's decision.
To apply for the housing scheme in which DDA will put up 13,500 flats on sale, people will have to pay Rs 1lakh for LIG and Rs 2 lakh for MIGHIG flats as earnest money . No penalty will be levied on the earnest money if an applicant withdraws before the date of the draw of lots. “But they will have to forfeit 25% of the amount if they surrender the flats within 90 days after the draw of lots,“ said J P Aggarwal, principal commissioner, land disposal and housing, DDA. If a person surrenders within three months of issue of the demand letter, then heshe will lose 50% of the earnest money .“After this, there would be no exemption. If a person fails to pay the money for the flat allotted to himher, the entire earnest money will be forfeited,“ said Aggarwal.
In an attempt to attract serious buyers, DDA had decided to increase the earnest money for MIG and HIG flats to Rs 5 lakh.But it was reduced to Rs 2 lakh following protests by residents.
Resident welfare associations are opposing the penalty clause. Last year, Delhi Residents' Welfare Associations Joint Front, an umbrella body of RWAs under the Bhagidari scheme, had written to then LG Najeeb Jung in this regard. “This is not a valid clause. If a person has a legitimate reason, then why should he be made to pay a penalty?“ said Pankaj Agarwal, general secretary of the organisation.
S B Singh, a member of Lajpat Nagar III RWA, said that DDA doesn't allow people to give floor-wise preference. “If an old couple is allotted a third floor in a building that doesn't have a lift, then why should they be made to pay a penalty when they don't want the flat? DDA only allows people to give preference for the location,“ said Singh.
Explaining the reason behind this move, DDA officials said it is to discourage people who are not serious about buying the flats. “Our flats are much cheaper than market rates. We have given people the option to go and see the location of the projectflats before applying. This is just to ensure serious buyers apply ,“ said a DDA official.
Of the 25,000 flats which were put up for sale in the 2014 housing scheme, 13,000 plus were returned by allottees citing reasons like small size of bedrooms and lack of infrastructure at the location, among others.
2014, ’17 schemes: unoccupied flats
Delhi Development Authority (DDA) recieved 5,661 requests for surrender or cancellation of flats alloted to the applicants in housing scheme for 2017, Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.
“Most of the applicants have not provided any specific reason for surrender but some of the applicants have stated that the built up area of the alloted flats were not up to their requirement,” minister of state (independent charge) for housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a written reply.
DDA had received over 46,000 applications under the 2017 housing scheme for over 12,000 flats. The costs of those flats ranged from nearly Rs 7 lakh to over Rs 1.20 crore, a DDA official had said earlier.
Of the total number of flats, around 10,000 unoccupied ones were from the 2014 housing scheme, while 2,000 others were lying vacant, he added.
Puri said the DDA had intimated that a total of 12,553 flats were surrendered by the allottees or cancelled by the DDA under housing scheme 2014.
To a separate query, Puri said the government has appointed a thirty member council to advice it on all matters concerning the implementation of the real estate Act.
Unified Building Byelaws
Cell towers permitted, 2016
The Times of India, Jun 11 2016
In a bid to address the menace of frequent call drops, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has amended the Unified Building Byelaws to allow cellphone towers in residential colonies. The changes, coming just over two months after the byelaws were notified, are likely to be opposed by RWAs that have cited concerns over radiation. The decision was taken on Friday after telecom mi nistry officials made a detailed presentation, including on radiation worries, before DDA members. Telecom secretary J S Deepak said new towers would solve the call drop problem in the capital. He added that 100 new sites would be set up in “problematic areas“ to improve services. “We are working with...civic agencies, apart from post office and cantonment authorities, to find a solution on installation of towers,“ he said. We have decided to allow cellphone tow ers in residential areas as the problem of call drops is serious,“ said a senior DDA official. The provision for towers was part of the old building byelaws, officials said. “It was not included in the recently notified building bylaws. We have just added the clause in the new byelaws,“ said an official. At the meeting on Friday, telecom ministry officials are learned to have told DDA members that there was no concrete evidence of any harmful effect of radiation from cellphone towers. “The radiation limits set in India are much lower than those prescribed in many other countries,“ said a senior ministry official.
The Delhi government will notify the amended byelaws for the municipal corporations within 10 days. As per an amendment in the DMC Act in 2011 during trifurcation of the erstwhile MCD, the power to notify such laws was given to the state government.
Sources said permission to erect towers would be given subject to approval from Airports Authority of India (for height), the fire department and Delhi Urban Arts Commission. “It will be considered a structure like any other building. The corporation will have to check the structural stability of the building on which the tower is erected to ensure that the entire structure is safe,“ said a DDA official.
Cellular operators have been finding it difficult to install towers as RWAs had opposed them, raising concerns over the possible harmful effects of radiation. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and other operators have argued that failure to procure sites for installing telecom towers has been a major factor behind poor services. The three municipal corporations in Delhi have not being allocating sites to telecom operators in residential areas either.