Delhi Development Authority
NEW DELHI: Of the 25,000 flats in DDA's 2014 housing scheme, over 10,000 are in Rohini's sectors 34 and 35. A majority of them are unlikely to be handed over by March next year, DDA's official deadline. The reason is the number of cases filed against DDA by Barwala villagers claiming their land was acquired illegally and with a paltry compensation.
The village, which has been campaigning against the acquisition since 2005, is spread across sectors 37, 36, 35 and parts of sector 34. In the current scheme, the biggest chunk - 10875 flats - is being offered in sector 34 and 35. The locals are opposing the construction work.
Naresh Kumar, a resident, had in April last year filed a writ petition in the high court against DDA's plan to construct flats in sectors 34-37. The petition was dismissed following which he filed an SLP (special leave petition) in Supreme Court which ordered a stay on construction by DDA.
A few weeks later, DDA approached the apex court, got the stay vacated and resumed work. But Naresh Kumar approached SC once again in July to get a stay, arguing that DDA's development work amounted to contempt. The matter is now pending.
The problem in sectors 34 and 35 is two-fold. The possibility of the apex court ruling against the acquisition is real. Giving DDA legal opinion, senior advocate Amarendra Sharan had said: "(DDA) will not be entitled to claim equity if the ultimate decision in the pending case goes in favour of the writ petitioners. Meaning thereto, any construction or development work carried out by the querist (DDA) would be subject to the eventual outcome of the case." Even if DDA gets a favourable ruling, it may not be able to get essential services like water, electricity and sewerage to the flats because of the land surrounding this patch being a subject of dispute.
"The whole process of acquisition was rushed through and carried out illegally. We were given a compensation of Rs 15 lakh per acre when the market rate is over Rs 15 crore. We will fight till we get our land back from DDA," says Naresh Kumar. Another petitioner, Manjeet Dabas, says its all about the manner in which their land was acquired.
"A recent court ruling in a dispute of a similar nature in Rohini's sector 28 and 27 has gone in favour of the local famers. So, we're quite hopeful of winning the case. We also have the new Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition act 2013 with which to challenge DDA's acquisition," says Dabas.
He adds that DDA in its own admission in the apex court has shown parts of sector 34 and almost all of sectors 35, 36 and 37 to be under dispute.
DDA acquired Barwala's land in two stages. In the first phase in 2005, 1217 acres of land was acquired at Rs 390 per square metre or Rs 15.73 lakh per acre. And then in 2009, the remaining 35 acres was acquired at Rs 720 per square metre or Rs 29 lakh per acre. There is no agreement on the compensation yet and DDA says they are trying to hold a dialogue to settle the issue.
DDA vice-chairperson Balvinder Kumar doesn't deny there is a problem. "Construction of flats for the 2014 scheme is going on and we are trying to solve this issue through multiple ways. First, we plan to approach the apex court and ask for police protection to construct the flats and submit our review petition in this regard. Secondly, we're also engaging the locals in discussions with the Delhi LG. The deadline of March 2015 is precisely for this reason. Otherwise, going by the speed of our development work, we'd have handed over the plots by December this year," says Kumar.