Also orders re-examination of issuance of provisional certificates to colonies which existed only on paper

A day after Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit ordered a probe into the alleged scam in which government land was sought to be usurped in the guise of regularisation of unauthorised colonies, the issue was raised at the Delhi Development Authority's meeting on Tuesday following which Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna is learnt to have promised a high-level inquiry.

Besides the promise of a high-level probe to senior BJP leader Harsh Vardhan who raised the issue at the meeting just as it began, the L-G is also learnt to have asked the Urban Development Secretary to re-examine the alleged issuance of provisional certificates to colonies which did not exist on the ground, but did so on paper. Speaking to this newspaper about what transpired at the meeting, Harsh Vardhan said he raised the matter as he was unhappy with the probe that the Chief Minister had ordered under the Revenue Department, which was also implicated in the scam.

Surprisingly, the DDA's press statement e-mailed to media houses following the authority meeting was silent on the L-G's promise of a probe on this important issue to Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who is also a non-official member of the DDA. In fact, the DDA's press release on the authority meeting completely skirted this issue.

“I demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter. Though the L-G did not commit to what inquiry would be initiated, he promised me this would be conducted by the highest authority possible. The L-G also asked me to give my complaint in writing, so as to bring it on the record of the Authority meeting,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan said.

“The consequence of this scam is that all DDA land will be eaten away by this corrupt nexus between officials, and will leave no land in Delhi for planned development.”

The alleged scam involving classification of vast tracts of vacant lands -- mostly belonging to the DDA -- as unauthorised colonies, to facilitate their conversion to private property, was reported byThe Hinduon November 12, after a complaint on the scam was made to the Lokayukta alleging collusion between Revenue and Urban Development departments of the Delhi Government, DDA, and vested interests.

The DDA meeting also discussed the policy for allotting land for marriage purposes, and to check the irregularities in allotment and to curb continued possession of land by tent mafia, with a proposal being mooted that restriction be placed on the number of days for which land will be allotted.

Two other suggestions to end the tent mafia's reign, discussed at the Authority meeting included placing some limit on the total land allotted for one marriage, and the setting up of a process to allot land on a licence-fee basis. The L-G directed that a formal proposal for the new policy be placed at the next DDA meeting.

The DDA also approved a proposal to relocate and rehabilitate persons whose shop, residence, workshop, or industrial unit gets affected and have to leave the said premises affected by the implementation of the DDA's Urban Extension Road (UER) projects.

Depending on the size of the residential plot, those displaced will be eligible for an EWS, LIG or MIG flat.

“The cost of these flats allotted will be subsidised at an average level of 10 per cent of cost irrespective of location,” the DDA's statement said. Alternative shops will be allotted to shopkeepers at pre-determined prices depending on availability.

A clause that forbids foreign missions from utilising more than 25 per cent of their area for residential purposes was deleted upon their request to remove restrictions on the use of premises of the land allotted.

The authority was informed that e-tendering has been done for setting up hot-water swimming pools at Siri Fort, CWG Village and Yamuna Sports Complex and the tenders are likely to be opened by January, 2012.

A proposal for delegation of enhanced powers to Engineering Wing on the lines of CPWD was also moved and approved by the Authority.

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