The Delhi Urban Arts Commission has asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to stop all construction work at its staff housing project on the banks of the Yamuna. The DMRC is building a residential complex of 93 flats for its operations and maintenance staff on the riverbed. The DUAC which undertook an inspection of the site in November has said the construction is in “violation” of the DUAC Act.
Coming down heavily on the DMRC for constructing flats on the river bed, the DUAC has alleged that the DMRC “mislead” the Commission while seeking a conceptual approval for the project in 2007. “In any case, the proposal of the staff quarters by DMRC should have been submitted to the Commission for formal approval through the local body concerned before taking up the construction work,” the DUAC has noted.
While the DMRC claims it has all the requisite permissions to construct the flats, a non-government organisation, the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, on the basis of information secured through the Right to Information Act has alleged that the project does not have the clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and the DUAC.
The Commission will now seek clarification about the proposal from the Delhi Development Authority as well as DMRC regarding the construction of housing blocks. “It is now the duty of the local authorities to ensure that the construction is not allowed to continue,” said DUAC member Ratish Nanda.
The DUAC has also noted in its minutes that while seeking conceptual approval for the project the DMRC had not mentioned the staff quarters. “Two multi-storey building structures are at an advance stage of construction. As per the records of the Commission, the proposal was given conceptual approval by the Commission at its meeting held on December 19, 2007. The proposal has never been received through the local body for formal consideration of the Commission.”
The DUAC has also noted that in accordance with the new zonal development plan of Zone-O, which has been approved by the Ministry of Urban Development in March this year, the site being used for the housing project has been shown for the transportation land use.
Describing the flats as “illegal” construction on the riverbed, a DUAC in its minutes of the meeting has pointed out that the DMRC tried to pass of the site as part of its operational area, whereas in 2007 it was part of the riverbed. “The information furnished to the Commission by the architect in the proforma of planning permission in respect of the land use of the site in 2007, had incorrect information. The representative of DDA present in the meeting stated that no such provision existed in Master Plan in the year 2007. No zonal plan was published for this area in November 2007. Clearly, the Commission was mislead in this matter,” the minutes of the meeting point out.
These flats are coming up on the riverbed, a stone's throw away from the Games Village, where flats are being sold at exorbitant rates. “Conceptual approval allows construction of other operational aspects like tracks and lines not housing projects,” said Mr. Nanda.