Though the Delhi Development Authority’s new query redress system “Samasya Nidan Sewa” sought to ensure a time-bound response to citizens’ queries, foster transparency and cut down on people’s visits to Vikas Sadan, the new system has had a very rough start.

Before the system was put in place about three weeks ago, members of the public could visit Vikas Sadan on Mondays and Thursdays to personally meet officials. But after allegations that some officers and touts were misusing the system and people were unnecessarily being made to make the rounds of Vikas Sadan, the Samasya Nidan Sewa, which can also be accessed online on the DDA website, was introduced.

The positive side of the new system is that for citizens’ queries, DDA officials will have to enter their responses on the website, which can then be viewed by both the applicants and monitored by the higher-ups in the DDA. Most of the queries relate to conversion of properties from leasehold to freehold, execution of conveyance deeds, getting of demand and possession letters, mutation and sanction of building plans.

Irate visitors could be seen berating officials in the reception area at Vikas Sadan on Thursday afternoon. Parvinder Singh, who has been trying to get his building plans approved for the past three years, said he had come on February 4 and submitted his query form at the reception. He was given an acknowledgment slip asking him to check online on the DDA website on February 18 on the status of his query. He was also provided a username and password which he would have to use to view the status of his complaint. “I have been checking from February 10 but nothing was updated on the DDA website. I came today after seeing no response for the last four days, after the February 18 deadline expired.”

Though the DDA says it will issue visitor passes only to those who have been specifically asked to meet the official concerned in the status update to their query, hassled reception-area officers could be seen issuing visitor passes on Thursday to the complainants after failing to pacify them.

“This is a new system that we have put in place. Like every new system there will be some glitches before it functions smoothly. We have already fixed a few problems with the system. The confusion in the reception area is being created by some vested interests who do not want a transparent system in place. In less than a month, this system will function smoothly,” said DDA spokesperson Neemo Dhar.

Part of the problem is the inability of the DDA officials or the security officers to employ crowd management measures. While some people could be seen breaking queues and arguing with each other and officers, others spent most of their energies trying to figure out which among the several counters that had been set up would address their problems.

One DDA official, on condition of anonymity, said the DDA officials were not trained adequately to use this new system. “Very few of the queries are being responded to properly. This is why the people are coming back to Vikas Sadan for redress of their grievances. I am also hearing that now some officers are meeting customers outside the office and middlemen and touts are also taking advantage of the flaws,” the official said.