Arun Goel, who recently took over as the vice-chairman of Delhi Development Authority, is on a mission mode to make functioning of the land-owing agency transparent, efficient and people-friendly. He spoke to Risha Chitlangia on priorities.
Q: You recently announced a slew of measures to make DDA’s functioning more transparent and people-friendly. Do you think there is a trust deficit between people and DDA?
A: If a person has to approach the VC to get his or her work done, it means there is a problem. Distrust comes from opaqueness and ambiguity in functioning. I agree there is a trust deficit and I aim to eliminate it by creating a system which is transparent, efficient and people-friendly. Services have to be delivered in a time-bound and systematic manner. We are planning to launch mobile applications to keep a check on our services and put things in public domain for scrutiny. We are making earnest efforts to win back the confidence of people. We are simplifying the process of conversion of property from leasehold to freehold. We are linking people’s feedback with our services and projects. I’m confident that within the next three-six months, there will be a visible change.
Q: Delhi government is apprehensive about the land pooling policy as it will have to surrender gram sabha land, which is meant for development projects, to DDA and then buy the same land back at high rates for development projects.
A: We have communicated to the government at the highest level that infrastructure requirements will be taken care of by DDA while preparing the development plans. We have asked the government to give us a list of its short-term and long-term infrastructure requirements. DDA and Delhi government will have to work in tandem as we both want systematic development of Delhi.
Q: How do you plan to implement land pooling?
A: As we will be dealing with large land parcels, we are working on developing a foolproof and transparent system. We will put everything in public domain and discretionary powers will not rest with DDA officials. We plan to map the land which will be transferred to us under the policy. GIS technology will be used for it. Data provided by Delhi government’s Geospatial Delhi Limited will be superimposed on our maps to look at the ground situation. A consultant is being appointed for the purpose. We plan to create a cell which will look into all the aspects of land pooling. We are also preparing a FAQ on land pooling for general public so that there is no confusion regarding it.
Q: DDA is struggling to remove encroachments from its land. How do you plan to protect vacant land from further encroachment?
A: We have started the process of digitization of vacant land data along with photographic evidence, legal status, type and extent of encroachment, if any, and the officer in-charge of the property. This data will be compiled and uploaded on our website within three months. We have requested Delhi government to provide GIS data using which we will digitally map our land. The data will be updated every three months. This will help us keep a close watch on our property, mainly big land parcels, and take prompt action in case of any encroachment. I have also directed officials to identify small land parcels, mainly near populated areas. We will auction these plots.
Q: People aren’t happy with the construction quality of DDA flats. The ones allotted in the 2010 housing scheme are in a pathetic condition. How are you planning to fix the problem and make sure that it doesn’t happen in future projects?
A: I admit that the construction quality of houses under the 2010 scheme is not up to the mark. I have directed officials to rectify the problems in a time-bound manner. We are also providing a time-frame to RWAs about the schedule of work. To ensure that this problem doesn’t happen in future, we have decided to narrow the time gap between completion of buildings and handing them over to people. We will link the contractor’s 5% security money with people’s feedback. In all future projects, we will try our best to ensure that houses are handed over to public as soon as construction is over. At present, there is a time gap of 2-3 years. We will use pre-fabricated material in future projects to ensure good construction quality.
Q: TOI recently did a series on MPD-2021 highlighting the problems in its implementation. Several RWAs want the DDA to review mixed land use policy as it has led to chaos in residential colonies. Even urban experts say that there is a need for operational guidelines for MPD as there are technical issues in its implementation. Is it possible to make changes in MPD now?
A: MPD is a legal document which gives a broad plan for city. As for changes in MPD, there is a proper process for it. People’s views were taken when the review had started. If people approach us, we will follow the process. As for operational guidelines, the implementation issues have to be addressed by the implementing agencies. There are provisions through which they can settle the issues. DDA can only provide a broad plan. But we will explain the provisions in case there is any doubt through an FAQ.
Source: Times of India
Dated: 17th September 2015