While the Supreme Court pulling up private developers like Amrapali, Jaypee and Unitech for harassing buyers makes headlines, a legal battle being fought quietly by 25,000 families waiting for DDA plots in Rohini to build their dream homes has entered a shocking 37th year.
And the struggle is far from over. Those allegedly left in the lurch by the state-run Delhi Development Authority (DDA) – the Capital’s largest landowner and developer – are applicants of the Rohini Residential Scheme-1981, out of which 7,000 applicants have already died. The plots on sale were in Sector 28-30 and 34-38.
After repeated rebukes and threats of contempt by the Delhi High Court from 2011 to 2013 and later the SC from 2013 to 2016, the DDA had expedited issuing letters of demand and possession.
On March 10, 2015, the top court had issued an ultimatum to then DDA vice-chairman Balvinder Kumar to complete the allotment process by July 31, 2016, or face stern action.
Addressing the concerns raised by Rahul Gupta – one of the plot applicants – that the DDA planned to give undersized and undeveloped plots, the SC also specified that the land parcels should be of the size mentioned in the scheme brochure and all utilities like sewerage, water and power connection and road connectivity should be in place before handing over possession.
The registrants presumed they had crossed the final hurdle on October 19, 2016 when the court dismissed petitions by farmers who challenged the land acquisition.
‘LOSING THE PLOT’
The DDA had all along been citing this as the biggest roadblock in developing several plots, saying they stonewalled work for roads, drains and sewers.
The registrants thought they were closer to their goal when the land agency issued demand letters and possession letters to nearly 24,000 and 9,000 registrants respectively.
But soon they realised that they were in for yet another round of court battle as the DDA had allegedly “in complete violation of the court order” given them “under-sized and undeveloped plots”.
“There was no sewerage, water and power connection, road connectivity in most of the plots. There were encroachments and slums nearby. Worse, now only plots of 60 (MIG) and 32(LIG) square metres were being made available, while initially plots of 90, 48 square metres were floated in the brochure,” Gupta alleged.
“They also raised the cost of the plot by almost 140 times as while initially it was Rs 200 per sq m, now it is Rs 28,000, he said, knocking on the doors of the SC again.
“We are completely denying the allegations. We are giving fully developed plots to the applicants and also not giving any undersized plots. We are fully complying with the SC order”, DDA sources said.
On May 2 this year, a bench of justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao of the top court-appointed Justice VK Shukla, retired judge of the Allahabad High Court as a one-man commission to verify the complaints of the plot registrants and submit a report within eight weeks. The next hearing is on September 14, 2018.