NEW DELHI: A report, commissioned by the Centre in February 2015 to recommend changes in the DDA Act, and submitted in October of the same year, has prompted AAP to renew its demand for greater control over land in Delhi. The document, prepared by a five-member committee led by former DDA vice-chairperson Madhukar Gupta, has reportedly suggested that the state government needs to be given a larger role in land development and management issues.
“The BJP government in the Centre set up this committee on its own and has been sitting on its recommendations for the past one year. Close to 70% of Delhi’s population has been living in unplanned areas. DDA has become a profit-making property dealer. We demand that the Centre makes this report public,” said AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha.
The party, which has been in a constant tug-of-war with the Centre over full statehood for Delhi, has been asking for transfer of land and police to the state government since it formed government in the capital. By not having the municipal corporations, DDA and Delhi Police under its control, the AAP government said it was unable to ensure all-round development of the city. In May this year, it had introduced the draft of The State of Delhi Bill 2016 as well.
The Madhukar Gupta committee report—though it does not talk about handing over DDA to the state government—does make a case for a larger role for the state government in land issues. “It is not for the first time that a central government appointed committee has recommended that DDA be made accountable to the elected state government. In 2001, a report titled ‘Delhi 21 (Delhi Urban Environment and Infrastructure Improvement Project)’, which was commissioned by the Centre, strongly recommended that DDA be brought under the GNCTD,” said Chadha. “In March 2013, the Fourth Delhi Finance Commission’s report recommended that Central government should display its commitment beginning with transfer of control over the local authorities such as DDA to GNCTD. DDA has investments worth Rs 23,000 crore, which should have been utilised for developing housing in the city.”
The committee was asked by Union urban development ministry to review the DDA Act, 1957, and redefine the role of the land-owning agency. The Centre has approved land pooling in the city, a policy, which officials say, cannot be implemented under the present DDA Act as it has no mentions of it. The land pooling policy, the implementation guidelines for which were notified in 2015, is yet to see the light of the day due to the ongoing tussle between the state and Centre. The AAP government wants a share in the land that DDA will get under the policy and wants that land for social infrastructure be handed over to it free of cost.
The Gupta committee has proposed that slums and industrial estates be transferred to state government. “The idea was to minimise multiplicity of authorities. When the Delhi government has full-fledged departments for slums and industrial development, why should DDA get into it,” asked a source.
It has also recommended giving land to the state government for developing transport and social infrastructure at subsidised rates. However, while the report is gathering dust, MoUD recently approved a proposal to give land at concessional rates to the Delhi government for infrastructure development.
While the committee, however, recommends that the state government has to develop core competence in planning and management of land infrastructure, said a source.
Credits ET Realty