GURGAON: Behind the steel and glass buildings that dominate the Cyber City skyline lies a cluster of plots in DLF Phase 3 that were originally meant for houses for economically weaker sections. Now, these 60 square yard plots house four and five-storey buildings that are home to many people, none of whom can be classified as EWS.
About 2,000 plots, out of a total 3,100 in the S, U and V blocks, donat stand up to legal scrutiny as they have seen constructions up to four and five storeys, though plot-owners are only permitted to build a basement and up to two-and-a-half floors. Although the plots were first bought by the EWS sections, they were sold off when the plot owners got 10 times what they had invested. Now, most of the buildings have been converted into paying guest accommodations, inhabited by people working in Cyber City.
Ramesh Agarwal (name changed), who has been living in Pink Town House in the U Block for the last 15 years, said, aœThere are no EWS people living in these plots now. The plots are owned by villagers, who are making good money by renting each floor to two to three working professionals. On an average, a plot owner is getting a rent of more than Rs 80,000 per montha .
The monetary gain makes them turn a blind eye to their forcing the residents to court disaster.
Explaining how facilities are misused by plot owners, Sudhir Kapoor of the DLF City RWA said, aœThough the builder provides only one water connection to each house, the water line running three to four feet below the ground is illegally tapped to meet the needs of eight to 10 people living in one 60 square yard building. Electricity load per plot is over 12kV, which is not allowed as per the rules.a
The RWA, however, is helpless and unable to take legal action against the plot owners. aœWe have taken up the issue with DTP (district town planner) several times. The last reply I got from DTPas office was that the area is under the jurisdiction of MCG (Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon). Now, we are just shuttling between different agencies to find an answer to this problem.a
Kalyan Singh from the department of town and country planning said, aœA disaster is waiting to happen. If a high-density earthquake were to hit the area, the multistorey buildings will collapse, leading to major loss of life and property,a he said.
aœWe are aware of the issue. Last time, when we conducted a sealing drive in the area, some officials were attacked by a mob. But we are working on a plan to restart the sealing drive. Besides the sealing drive, there is a need for people, who work in Cyber City to understand that living in illegal construction is extremely unsafe and they shouldnat rent these apartments,a said Sanjeev Mann, DTP (enforcement).
Some residents are blissfully unaware of the jeopardy they are in and prefer to look away to benefit from the convenience of living in the area.
aœLiving in U Block is so convenient. My office is five-minute walking distance from here. The Metro station is close by. We get water and power supply 24x7. Moreover, refrigerators, air conditioners and gas cylinders are also provided by the landlord,a said Amrit, who works with a PR firm in Cyber City. He shares a room with his friend and pays Rs 10,000 per month as rent.