How can Delhi implement court orders?
Pronouncing the last judgement during his tenure as the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, justice Ajit Prakash Shah said: “Everyone has the right to live a decent life. It is not uncommon that in the garb of evicting slums and beautifying the city, the state agencies, in fact, end up creating more slums. The only difference is that this time this is away from the gaze of the city dwellers. It cannot be expected that human beings in a jhuggi cluster will simply vanish if their homes are uprooted and their names effaced from government records”.
It may be recalled that many an evictees had been issued ration cards and voter ID cards whilst they were accommodating (encroaching) themselves on government land.
“The decision of the respondents (government and civic agencies) holding that the petitioners are on the right of way and are, therefore, not entitled to relocation, is hereby declared as illegal and unconstitutional,” the bench said, adding all those eligible for rehabilitation should be granted an alternative site as per the Master Plan-Delhi 2021 within four months.
Now, therein lies the big challenge. The Masterplan for Delhi MPD 2021 was notified in Feb’ 2007, and since then many a committees have debated and finally the recommendations have been lying with the Ministry of Urban development. When would the Master plan of Delhi be released for the public? How would the private sector play a role in that? Which are the areas where government and private sector would complement each other with investments?
To understand these, I met Mr. Ramesh Menon of the online initiative, www.delhi-masterplan.com. This is what he had to say.
“How would these plans be implemented before releasing the zonal plans and LAP (local area plans) into the public domain? The recent supreme court judgement of 8th Feb 201 whereby almost 12000 acres of land qualify for acquisition by the DDA also would face stiff resistance in the absence of the zonal plans. It would be in the interest of the public to release the zonal plans so that the investors, sellers and buyers are clear on where to invest”.
As per Menon, the ideal location wherein investment would flow into would be zone ‘N’ of the MPD 2021 which has the ideal mix of clear land, Industrial, PSP corridors and residential areas. It may be recalled that zone N has almost 14000 Ha of land with the ideal mix of green belt, two mega industrial areas, PSP of almost 800 Ha and the Mini India project of about 150 acres.
Though the judgements are landmark in nature, it would place additional stress on the civic agencies and the government, esp. the MuD to act faster in the larger interest of the Delhi-ites.