Delhi building byelaws, plans cater to builders’ interest: HC told

New Delhi, Oct 5 (PTI) Castigating the authorities here for their failure in urban planning, an expert panel has told the Delhi High Court that the building bye-laws and development plans of the national capital have only furthered builders’ interest and not that of the citizens’ life.

The panel set up by the high court to look into the menace of unauthorised construction has also expressed concern over the authorities’ failure in urban planning to provide for the population influx in the city.

The three-member expert panel said in its report that “population pressure have beaten us hollow and caught the policy makers short of ideas continuously”.

It told a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal that there are “blatant safety and regulatory violations” in every colony of the national capital.

“Our systems and those entrusted to plan for the cities have failed to anticipate and provided for increasing numbers.

Urban planning is only in furtherance of builders’ interest and not a citizen’s life,” the report said.

The committee, comprising former CBI director D R Karthikeyan, ex-India Habitat Centre Director R M S Liberhan and retired district judge Ravinder Kaur, further said that the building structures show “lawlessness really rampant”.

“Law enforcers appear to have given up on their duties as lane after lane and colony after colony shows blatant safety and regulatory violations,” it said.

It said that the Commissioner and Mayor should be held accountable for the failures on the part of the civic bodies.

“A Junior or Assistant Engineer’s accountability is a facile accountability with no deterrent effect. And this should be enforced now,” the report said.

The committee also highlighted in their report that all the colonies have layout plans and they are supposed to be on the MCD website. But many are missing, either because they are yet to be uploaded or are yet to be prepared.

“Physical surveys of the various colonies regularised by the Delhi government are incomplete or not done.

“These deficits are not only handicaps but serious impairments of the corporations’ capacity to enforce the law relating to building controls. To cap it all, not many functionaries were aware that these plans could be accessed from the MCD websites,” they said.

“Illegal buildings are nothing short of appalling”, the report said, adding that some of the localities like Rajendra Nagar, Paharganj and Karol Bagh are “outstanding examples of man-made disasters and are seemingly beyond redemption”.

“Even where violations stare you in the face, such as in Karol Bagh and indeed everywhere, these are overlooked and this cannot be anything other than a deliberate oversight as even an untrained eye can see them. Obviously, the induced state of coma has come from a powerful opiate,” it added.

It further said there are at least 2000 unauthorised colonies and inevitable manipulation for their regularisation.

It said “the review of bye-laws and development controls has to be concurrent and keep pace with the population influx into the city.

The court committee was appointed after it was flooded with several PILs alleging presence of illegal constructions in all corners of the national capital.