Call for public debate - Request to Parliament Standing Committee

On 22.01.04 I had sent the following to Lok Sabha
Secretariat about our call for public debate.
(Following a news report yesterday about a visit by
the Committee members to Delhi Metro, I have written
today to ask they make time also for a visit for a
subaltern view.
Republic Day week in Delhi can get bad for chaps who
respect (city planning) law. Elected representatives
have bashes in illegal farmhouses, this year despite
government instructions to officials not to attend
(private) farmhouse parties, and our LG uses his
address to make announcements about the Master Plan
revision ongoing without basis in law. This time he
has claimed basis is modern principles of city
development and since I am teaching this semester a
Principles of Planning course at SPA I have written to
SPA and DDA a clarifier, enclosing also the statement
calling for public debate. It is at:



Respected Sir / Madam

With the Thirteenth Lok Sabha scheduled to be
dissolved in coming days, this is to request again an
opportunity for being heard on submissions made in
response to public notice of 22.06.03 about
functioning of DDA pursuant to the 'DDA scam' that
this Lok Sabha has perhaps not debated.

This is also to request support for our call for
public debate (please see statement at encl.1) on the
'endowment paradigm' position on city planning in
disregard of statutory city plans and citizens'
entitlements enshrined in them in pursuit of
distributive justice. We called for this debate in
context of what we consider anti-poor and
anti-national propaganda by 'endowment paradigm'
promoters on global platforms, in this case World
Social Forum in Mumbai during 16?21.01.04.

As mentioned in the enclosed statement, we have
requested aegis of our democratic institutions and
anti-imperialism platforms. These requests were sent
from Mumbai by e-mail on 15.01.04 and by courier on
17.01.04. We gave World Social Forum first call
because of 'origin' of our request in an event in it.
We have not received any response and the Forum has

We request our Parliamentary Standing Committee for
Urban Development to hold this debate under its aegis.
We do so for the following reasons:
1. We believe that, within our Parliament, it is
members of this Committee who represent the people of
India on city planning and development issues.
2. Representations by citizens' groups and
professionals and NGOs engaging on city planning
issues from an entitlements perspective of city Plans
are already before this Committee and urban policies
in the ambit of the 'endowment paradigm' are also
being pursued / having spin-offs at levels concerning
the ministry and Parliament (please see Encl.2 for
illustrative instances).
3. The event and groups that precipitated our call for
debate have support of a former member of this

We write to you in hope of an early response.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely

(on behalf of signatories to the statement at Encl.1,
representationists mentioned in Encl.2 and others)

Gita Dewan Verma / Planner / 22.01.04
B.Arch (SPA, gold medalist); M.Planning (SPA, gold
medalist); PG Dip-Research (IHS-Rotterdam, top rank);
Dip-Training (DoPT)
Formerly: Senior Fellow (HUDCO-HSMI), Visiting Faculty
(SPA, TVB SHS), Consultant (DfID, IHSP, Nuffic,
UNICEF, etc)
Currently: Independent planning researcher and writer
and planning consultant exclusively to citizens?

1356 D-I Vasant Kunj, New Delhi?110070; Ph: 26132921,
26895840; eml: [email protected]

cc: for favour of information, in continuation of
requests made from Mumbai

Hon'ble President of India

Hon'ble Chief Justice of India

encl.1. statement

encl.2.Illustrative instances about which
representations are pending

Prime Minister has granted 500 crores for redeveloping
Dharavi. One lakh families will be housed in the 174
Ha site ? at gross density of 3000 ppHa. The state
will provide 5000 crores more to substitute
overcrowded 'slum' with overcrowding 'scheme'. A
'Mumbai Model' was also announced for Delhi slums, at
instance of an NGO spearheading it in Mumbai, and
representations against it (on grounds of illegality
in terms of Delhi Master Plan) are pending in the
Ministry and this Standing Committee.

Despite Delhi High Court judgement of November 2002
quashing the illegal policy that substituted housing
for all with resettlement for few and upgrading for
rest, these continue, also as basis of (draft)
national slum policy made with NGOs. Downsizing is
also happening in night shelter 'schemes', in name of
housing rights at instance of NGOs. Demolitions
continue, with representations about illegality in
context of entitlements pending before Ministry,
Standing Committee, Court and NHRC.

Despite repeated requests the Ministry has not placed
in Supreme Court in appeal against November 2002 order
facts of Master Plan housing entitlements. The same is
the case in the matter of industries. About 5000 Ha
set aside for solving problems of low-income housing
and small industries in Delhi is thus unaccounted for.
Representations about this are pending before the
Ministry and this Standing Committee and also in form
of objections filed through due process of Public

Supreme Court was lately misled to approve illegal
hawker markets by NGO at whose instance PMO announced
policy in 2001 in disregard of statutory provisions
for space for all hawkers in Delhi. Now Cabinet has
approved national hawker policy, initiated by another
NGO. Assurance to implement Plan provisions, given in
PIL filed by hawkers and customers in which the
Ministry desires not to file reply, remains on paper.
Hawkers' representations are pending before Standing
Committee, CVC, etc.

The draft education Bill is to be discussed with state
secretaries. NGOs have been criticizing it for lacking
basis in Common School System, but without reference
to existing schema under planning law, as in Delhi
Master Plan. Despite Union HRD Minister?s call for
neighbourhood schools, the Bill is poised to downsize
existing guarantees. Representations about this
conflict and about efforts of students/parents to
secure entitlements are pending before Ministry,
Standing Committee and Court.

Ministers have announced 'schemes' for Yamuna, with
Zonal Plan yet to be made by due process including
opportunity for comment and objections (on grounds
also of implications of development on notified
drinking ground water reserve) filed in response to
Public Notice for similar 'scheme' yet to be heard.
Today a Yamuna 'slum' faced demolition, with
representations about housing entitlements, and
entitlements to safeguard these via due processes
pending in Ministry and Standing Committee.

Heritage 'schemes' are being pursued and opposed ? in
equal disregard of Master Plan provisions for
heritage. 'Eminent citizens' who challenged in Supreme
Court work on Red Fort and are 'monitoring' its
'conservation management plan' and exploring
possibilities of extending their role to other
heritage sites include those involved in a heritage
'scheme' illegal as per a High Court judgement of
2002, but continuing. Representations about this are
pending before the Ministry and this Standing

While investments are being made in world-class
infrastructure, laws for these, such as for Delhi
Metro and Electricity, do not connect to planning and
development laws to optimally embed them in holistic
frameworks. Representations about 'property
development' in violation of Master Plan by Delhi
Metro and Discoms and failure on responsibilities to,
say, make provision for space for hawkers or
cross-subsidize infrastructure are pending, including
in Public Notice responses.

A serious crisis in urban planning institutions is
indicated by recent exposes of corruption and symptoms
of financial sickness (with DDA reporting budget
deficit, HUDCO reporting profit only after cuts in
research/training funds, NIUA executing projects for
NGOs, etc) and technical 'watchdog' failure (with
enquiry of School of Planning and Architecture finding
alarming rot). Representations about this crisis,
unaffordable in face of GATS and challenges of
globalisation, are also pending.

In chaos reform is being pushed without debate.
Regardless of issues raised at AMDA conference about
74th amendment in metropolitan context, USAID has made
a Model Municipal Act and for Delhi intends a
decentralization 'project'. In many cities 'visions'
to guide plans are being tendered. In Delhi
'guidelines' are being recited as 'new' Plan.
Representations about these unlawful processes to deny
accountability / opportunity for public comment are
pending before Ministry and Standing Committee.

Delhi Chief Minister is urging Parliament to rush
Delhi Statehood Bill and Cooperative Bill in the
forthcoming session. Both have provisions in conflict
with Delhi Development Act. In Cooperative Bill,
legislators admitted the defect ? omission of
mandatory Public Notice. Statehood Bill changes
definition of planned development so 'schemes' not
embedded in Master Plan can also be 'legal'.
Representations about these Bills are pending before
the Ministry, Standing Committee and others

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