Suspension of DDA officials dents morale of JJ cluster residents

Broken windows spotted at the DDA’s slum rehabilitation project at Kalkaji Extension.

Broken windows spotted at the DDA’s slum rehabilitation project at Kalkaji Extension. | Photo Credit: R.V. MOORTHY

A view of the Delhi Development Authority’s in situ slum rehabilitation project at Kalkaji Extension

A view of the Delhi Development Authority’s in situ slum rehabilitation project at Kalkaji Extension | Photo Credit: R.V. MOORTHY

New Delhi

Days after the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) suspended two of its assistant engineers over “substandard” work at the urban body’s in situ slum rehabilitation project at Kalkaji Extension, the residents of Bhoomiheen Camp (JJ cluster), who have been allotted flats in the project, remain worried about the quality of their future homes.

According to a senior DDA official and other sources, the suspensions came on the direction of Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena following his inspection of the site on June 11. Sources said the L-G found the work done in the flats to be “substandard and incomplete”.

Long wait

The news about the suspensions and the “substandard” quality of the flats has left the residents of the JJ cluster in a fix about what to do next. While a number of allottees told  The Hindu that they have waited too long and would accept what comes their way, some beneficiaries said they were, in fact, reconsidering the option to move in.

Sapan Shah, 59, a beneficiary of the slum rehab project, said the recent developments have killed all his excitement about moving into the newly built homes.

“They should have looked into the quality of the houses beforehand or at least at the planning stage. Now the time has passed. We are paying out of our pocket for these homes. We don’t have a choice now, we must adjust to what we get,” said Mr. Shah, who has been residing at the JJ cluster since 1982.

Sharing a similar view, Parimal Mandal, a resident who runs a small shop at the camp, said since 2011, when the project was first conceived, the families at the JJ cluster have undergone multiple surveys to prove their eligibility and over 50% of them have received allotment-cum-demand letters so far.

₹1.42 lakh per flat

According to the DDA, the flats will be allotted upon the payment of ₹1,42,000 per allottee, which includes ₹30,000 as maintenance charge for a period of five years.

Under the project, the DDA has constructed 3,024 flats — each of which have two rooms, a washroom, a kitchen and a balcony — for slightly over 2,800 households at the JJ cluster.

In February, the DDA conducted the first draw of lots in which allotment letters were issued to 673 households Last week, the DDA conducted a second draw of lots for 903 eligible households.

At the project site, visited by  The Hindu, broken windowpanes and incomplete fittings were spotted outside multiple flats, which measure slightly over 25 square metres, while the interiors of a sample flat were complete and intact.

“One has to understand that the people living in this [Bhoomiheen] camp are very hesitant and economically weak. Such developments lead to major worries. For them, it is about having proper housing and they now fear that they may face more problems after moving into the flats,” said a resident, adding that he is having second thoughts about paying for the flat.

‘Residents misled’

Reacting to the concerns raised by the JJ cluster residents, the senior DDA official denied that the work was substandard and said the beneficiaries were being misled with rumours about the construction quality. On the incomplete fittings, the official said there were only a few flats where they were yet to be installed.

“During the L-G’s visit, he first inspected the sample flat and was quite satisfied with it. Upon inspecting the other flats, he noticed that some fittings such as switches and other facilities had not been installed. The officials tried to explain that they will be installed once the homes are allotted, but the L-G was unhappy with the condition of the flats,” said the official.

All JJ cluster beneficiaries will be allotted the flats this year itself, said the official, adding that the project is likely to be inaugurated by a dignitary from the Union government.

“We are going to start issuing the possession letters from next week and we have also reduced the paperwork for the beneficiaries to avoid any hassle. Once they make the payment, vacate their homes in the slum cluster and get a demolition slip, the entire cluster will be removed and the land will be utilised by the DDA,” said the official.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2022 10:29:20 am |