DELHI: Buildings are being constructed nonstop at Jaitpur Extension in absolute violation of Delhi Development Authority’s order to stop fresh property construction in Yamuna river zone.
On September 28, DDA issued a public notice that proposed rezoning almost 40% of the river zone to pave way for regularization of illegal constructions and establishments on the floodplains. But soon, it issued a public notice ordering all constructions be stopped until a final decision is taken on boundaries of the river zone. The notice said any construction or encroachment will be demolished and the offender punished.
National Green Tribunal also ordered a stay on rezoning after river ecology experts sounded alarm bells on repercussions of such rezoning activity. But on ground zero, the river front may have been damaged extensively already as several buildings continue to come up, concretizing a large part of the floodplain.
The impending assembly election has sparked regularization hopes in Jaitpur among residents and real estate businessmen. According to residents, the chief minister herself made a promise to them that Jaitpur will be taken off Zone O and that residents can start constructing homes. “She came to Jaitpur a month ago to inaugurate a school here. She said we could finish constructing buildings as Jaitpur will be a part of Zone F now. We were hoping price of land will also go up here,” said Mubin, a builder.
In fact, Jaitpur’s ‘O zone’ status hasn’t stopped property dealers from selling land here. “We are in F zone. There is nothing illegal about buying or selling land here. The cost of land ranges from Rs 35,000 to Rs 45,000 per square yard. There is a good demand,” said Ramesh, who works with property agents. Other residents claim that most of Jaitpur is already built up.
“There is just 10% of open land left that can be sold. All other constructions are just expansion of existing buildings,” Ramsagar Singh added.
After DDA announced a ban on constructions, supply and transport of building material was stopped briefly but resumed possibly because Congress, as part of its campaign strategy, has been promising complete regularization of the fertile river plain land.
“We have invested lakhs in building our homes here. The government has to regularize us or we will not vote,” said Amit who works for DTC. He claimed Yamuna was far away from Jaitpur Extension and only a few dirty drains are flowing through the colony.
Jaitpur’s illegal colonies have not just concretized a large tract of land but are also probably discharging a massive amount of untreated sewage into the river.
“One of our biggest fears was that DDA’s public notice on rezoning would lead to a spurt in construction. It was an open invitation to encroach. If there is such large scale encroachment, the river will explode and eventually enter the homes of the people who have encroached on it,” Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan said.
Other areas like Soniya Vihar, Rajeev Nagar, Jagatpur on the river front are also seeing a similar boom, said activists.