[mpisgmedia] "Protest" against Vasant Kunj Malls: clarifications

> Express Newsline: No mall at ridge, say residents
> The Hindu: Vasant Kunj residents up in arms

Some *concerned citizens* (Hindu) *along with several
NGO?s* (Express) reportedly demonstrated at the site
of Vasant Kunj Malls yesterday and a *memorandum will
be presented by the NGO consortium and the residents*
to MoEF, UDM, President, PM, area MLA (Express).

The following are some factual clarifications, for
information and if any one knows the protestors for
favour of forwarding to them for accuracy in their
Memoranda. (Protestors mentioned in the reports are
*resident of the area, Amit Aggarwal* (Hindu),
*activist, Vikram Soni* (Hindu) and *Diwan Singh,
coordinator, NGO Forum* (Express))

1. The Malls site is 19 Ha (not 92 Ha, as reported in
Express) and is located on Nelson Mandela Road (not
Mahipalpur-Mehruali Road, as reported in Hindu). The
site lately allotted for Mall on Mahipalpur-Mehrauli
Road is at Masudpur and the projects under
construction in ridge area on Mahipalpur-Mehrauli road
are at Andheria Morh and CNG station.

2. Delhi Government's forest-status 1997-2003 (Express
and Hindu) seems peculiar. Delhi Government is
building a mandi in the ridge forest at Andheria Morh,
next to which an unauthorised colony is coming up by
burying the forest there. It is also building a
super-speciality hospital in Green Belt and has
proposed a hospital in Mahiplapur Hauz (where a
commercial complex is also proposed, for which s.11A
Public Notice was issued in November 2004). It has
also allotted land to an NGO in Asola sanctuary.

3. The Geological Survey of India has identified the
area as part of the Aravalli Ridge in 1997 (Express
and Hindu), but the area has also been legally
quarried since the 1960s. The Malls site is being
illegally quarried since 04 August 2004, complaints
about which have been made, with photographs.

4. The ridge forest area holds a conservation status
(Express), but the Mall site is not forested; the
forest - vegetation cover of exotic rather than
indigenous species - is in the disused quarry area
called Lal Khet behind the spur to the west of the
site. Old communities that have minded this were
forcibly evicted in a Pushta-like operation on 29 July
2005 for the Park that is helping the Malls sell-well.

5. The area is not just water catchment Area of the
Central Groundwater Board (Hindu and Express) but
ground water critical area duly notified by CGWA.
Boring is banned and one of the reasons that
construction has not started full swing is that
complaints, with photographs, were repeatedly made
against boring.

6. The area is protected by the Masterplan (Express)
against the Malls and Park as well as against Grand
Hyatt and plush buildings on plots allotted to
institutions that do not answer queries. 92 Ha, on
which these and the Malls are, were somehow released
from the purview of the Master Plan in 1997 in a PIL
(on grounds akin to those reiterated in this protest).
A PIL against the Malls relying on that PIL was
dismissed by High Court on 10.12.2003 and by Supreme
Court on 08.03.2004 and in a similar petition Central
Empowered Committee, according to Express Newsline
report of 17.08.2004, cleared the Malls.

7. The Malls and other identically illegal projects
remain challenged in MPISG PIL, in which notice was
issued on 22.09.2004. This PIL is on grounds of
violations of Master Plan (1990) and Zonal Plan (1998)
and CGWA notification (1999) and relies also on
Sultangarhi judgment (2002) by which the 56-Ha scheme
started at Sultangarhi was not only quashed on these
very grounds but also ordered inquired into to prevent
identical illegalities and of objections filed by over
1700 local families in response to Public Notice for
it precipitated by the PIL and subsequent engagements
by constitutional processes. The Sultangarhi scheme,
on which construction resumed after notice of
22.09.2004 was lately *proposed* by some *experts* and
*demanded* by some *residents*...

MPISG PIL related details are at
(updated till 16.01.2005; there have been further
engagements and there is a meeting tomorrow).

Gita Dewan Verma
MPISG Planner

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