NEW DELHI: The Delhi Development Authority is believed to have compromised on norms laid down for demolishing sections of two adjacent buildings to help the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation meet the deadline to complete its third phase, documents with the DDA, revenue records and reports from the ADM’s office suggest.
The DDA, ignoring its legal department’s advice and a noting from district authorities, surrendered its rights over the land to the building owners and advised the DMRC to compensate them. Accordingly, the DMRC compensated the building owners who had encroached on DDA land, although the law says no such compensation needs to be given.
The DMRC directly negotiated with the building owners early this year for the 714 square metre plot, so it could pass a viaduct through the third floor of the two buildings. It then paid the owners Rs 5.91 crore in compensation.
The DDA’s legal department had, however, advised that no compensation needs to be given as the “the land measuring 11 Bigha and 12 Biswa falling in Khasra no 53/2/1 village Hassanpur was gram sabha land which, on urbanisation, vested in the central government. Thus the title of the land is vested in the government/DDA”.
Since this was a first-of-its-kind case, a meeting was held in November 2016 between the DMRC, Vice-Chairman, DDA and Principal Commissioner, DDA, land and housing department officials and representatives of the legal department. After the first meeting, the DMRC drew up a draft proposal to pass the viaduct through the buildings to connect Anand Vihar metro station to Vinod Nagar area in East Delhi.
According to the minutes of the second meeting, JP Aggarwal, Principal Commissioner DDA, advocated appropriate compensation for the owners, even as he accepted that the land “technically” belonged to the DDA. But Aggarwal argued that “development activities by the government can be taken up if the property is vacant, but if it is built-up area the residents are liable for a mandatory compensation”.
The building owners, while demanding compensation, had argued that they bought the land through an auction and had been unaware that it was owned by the DDA. They said they were protected under the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, which broadly states that all unauthorised colonies, village abadi areas (including urban villages) and their extensions, as existed on the 31st day of March 2002, and where construction took place even beyond date and upto 1st June, 2014 , are regularised.
However, the legal department rebutted the argument, stating that: “Unauthorised colonies/ part of colonies/ habitations which pose hindrances in development facilities or fall in the Right of Way (RoW) of existing/ proposed railway lines and the property required by the DMRC may not be protected under the Delhi Special Provisions Act.”
But the DMRC signed an MoU with the building owners. The DDA’s revenue department too gave the go-ahead for compensation as they had been living in the area. But the state district magistrate and additional district magistrate, asked for their opinion, stated that the “land plot in question, which is marked as Gram Sabha Abadi Deh as per revenue records of 1966, should be shown as government/DDA land and at the disposal of the government”.
The DDA then called a meeting with the two building owners, ADM of East district, DDA’s legal and revenue department and the DMRC’s representatives. According to the minutes of the meeting accessed by The Sunday Standard, “mandatory compensation is to be given in these types of properties to acquire the portion whether it is private/gram sabha land. The declared area, if vacant, is government land; if not, it is private land and the people are liable to be paid compensation.”
After receiving the minutes of the meeting a few days later, the ADM shot off a letter to the DDA saying the facts mentioned were “absolutely wrong” and that he had never said “whatever that has been recorded in your minutes”.
Rajanish Singh, ADM, East Delhi told The Sunday Standard: “The land technically belongs to the government/DDA but as development work can also not be ignored and the agencies were in a hurry to meet the deadline a middle ground was found.”