DDA refutes bribery charges

NEW DELHI MAY 22. Delhi Development Authority has declared that individuals are no longer required to take any permission from it to shift the rolling shutters from the inner side of the walls of their shops to the exterior.

In response to a report titled "Shutters come handy for DDA to extract bribe'' published in the May 22 edition of The Hindu, the Public Relations Officer of DDA, Neemo Dhar, has clarified that "earlier in the DDA shops, the shutters were being fixed on the inner side of the wall''. But, as "a number of representations were received that these rolling shutters are causing some inconvenience to the allottees'', the matter was reviewed.

``In consultation with the Chief Architect's office and in view of the fact that DDA had taken into consideration the area up to the outer face of the wall at the time of calculating the area of the ship, a policy decision was taken in January 2003 to allow all the shopkeepers to shift their shutters to the outer face of the wall,'' the official explained.

Ms Dhar has contended that "the alteration has been allowed without any extra charges and the allottees are not required to take any permission for shifting of the rolling shutters''. She also said that no single individual has to now approach DDA for getting the permission and therefore "the question of bribe or any malafide intention'' no longer arises.

Stating that the charge of corrupt DDA officials seeking bribes from shopowners on the ground that the alterations amounted to "encroachment'' was baseless, Ms Dhar said the problem primarily was due to something contained in the earlier drawings which have since been amended as per the convenience of the allottees.

The defence, however, concedes the prime charge levelled by the Secretary of Balprada, Madhusudan Sharma, who had alleged that the installation of rolling shutters had been done in a faulty manner by DDA. What DDA's clarification does not explain is why the shopowners in the past were penalised on the ground of "encroachment'' for shifting the shutters to the exterior when the fault lay in the architectural design of the concerned shops.

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