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Metro to roll into Dwarka on April 1
New Delhi, March 25
While constructing the Metro route inside the Dwarka sub-city, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had a relatively easier task as the DDA had left a dedicated 30-m corridor for a Metro line while planning the sub-city.

The Metro passes through Dwarka during a trial run as part of its extension on Line 3, which will be inaugurated on Sunday. The Metro passes through Dwarka during a trial run as part of its extension on Line 3, which will be inaugurated on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

CAG raps DDA for irregularities in land sale
New Delhi, March 25
The Comptroller and Auditor General’s report has pointed out that the Delhi Development Authority was deprived of prime land worth Rs 92.06 lakh because of failure to take timely action to cancel the allotment of a plot despite persistent breaches of terms of allotment. Composition fees of Rs 43.45 lakh also remained unrecovered, the report says. The report says that the DDA allotted an industrial plot at Rewari Line Industry Area, Phase-II (Mayapuri Industrial Area) measuring 605 sq.






EARLIER STORIES
 

Property transfer cess hiked by 50 per cent in Noida
Noida, March 25
After the hike in land rates in Noida and Greater Noida, it is the turn of the property transfer tax rates. These have been hiked by 50 per cent. Now, all those going in for sale and purchase of property will have to shell out more money.

RWA body miffed over admn apathy
Gurgaon, March 25
Various residents welfare associations (RWAs) of HUDA sectors here are miffed with the district administration over its alleged apathy towards their grievances.

Air compressor blast leaves 14 injured
New Delhi, March 25
At least 14 persons, including three children, were injured when an air compressor exploded in a cycle shop here today.

A fireman inspecting the site where 14 persons were injured in a cylinder blast in east Delhi on Saturday. A fireman inspecting the site where 14 persons were injured in a cylinder blast in east Delhi on Saturday. — Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

News Analysis
A tale of empty promises and no sense of ground realities
New Delhi, March 25
It’s hard to say just yet if the timing of Ms Sonia Gandhi’s dramatic resignation helps her party’s prospects in the forthcoming Assembly elections, which is what, according to her detractors, motivated her actions to some degree.

No electricity in MCD school: DERC notice to BSES
New Delhi, March 25
The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has issued a notice to BSES Yamuna Power Limited following a complaint filed by the RETF (Right to Education Task Force) alleging that BSES has failed to provide electricity connection to a MCD school in the Capital.

Traders welcome DDA’s liberal mixed land use policy
New Delhi, March 25
A day after the DDA decided to amend the Master Plan 2021 to allow certain commercial activities in residential areas, traders in the national Capital have welcomed the decision to relax the controversial mixed land use policy.

IT Dept to conduct special GDA audit
Ghaziabad, March 25
Ghaziabad Development Authority officials are a worried lot these days. In view of its wayward functioning, the Income Tax Department has decided to conduct a special audit of the GDA.

35 defaulters’ property to be auctioned
Noida, March 25
The district administration has decided to auction the property of 35 defaulters to achieve the target set for revenue collection. All these defaulters owe different departments of the government over Rs 1 lakh each.

Man robbed of Rs 1.25 lakh, bike at gunpoint
Noida, March 25
An employee of the general secretary of the Jain Samaj was deprived of Rs.1.25 lakh and a motorbike at gunpoint near Sab Mall, Sector 27, here last evening.
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Metro to roll into Dwarka on April 1
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
While constructing the Metro route inside the Dwarka sub-city, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had a relatively easier task as the DDA had left a dedicated 30-m corridor for a Metro line while planning the sub-city.

Nevertheless, it was a challenging job for the DMRC to complete the route as the plan for the Dwarka sub-city received a go-ahead from the government as recently as April, 2004. But in less than two years, the Metro is now all set to roll deeper into the sub-city on the western outskirts of the Capital.

While the inauguration of the new segment is expected to take place on March 31, residents of Dwarka and nearby areas will have access to the most modern and fast mode of transport in the country from April 1 onwards.

The good news is that the construction work on the 6.5-km extension of the Barakhamba Road-Dwarka has been completed in a record time of 22 months. With the new segment joining six more stations on the Line-3 inside the sub-city, 20,000 to 25,000 additional commuters will be added to the Metro’s existing ridership. The Dwarka sub-city section will most likely also provide the link to the international airport which is just about 4 kms away.

Beyond Sector 9, which as of now is the last station on the line, a go-ahead has also been given for two more stations — Sectors 8 and 22 — where Metro is expected to reach by September 2007. The line for the IGAI is expected to branch off before Sector 8 to reach the IGIA. The Haryana Government too is keen to seek the extension of this line up till Gurgaon.

For now, the extension of the Line-3 inside the sub-city will boost developmental activities in the residential area. Already, the property prices are zooming. Once the complete development along the Metro line with district centres and other infrastructure gets completed, the sub-city will be a delight to live in.

For one, parking will not be a problem at the stations as apart from the dedicated 250-sq m dedicated parking provided by the Metro, there will be additional parking lots along the roads that are dividing the Metro line and district sub-centres and other infrastructure being developed alongside.

In the words of DMRC Director (Operations) Raj Kumar, “It is a win-win situation for both the sides. While on the one hand the opening of the extension to Dwarka sub-city will increase the ridership of the Metro, for the DDA, it means an addition to the value of the sub-city.”

To make this line operational till Dwarka sub-city, the DMRC had to update its software as the existing software was not capable of handling the increased load. Which is why today the Metro operations on Line 3 will close half an hour earlier than usual and open one hour later in the morning to enable update of the software.

That planning in advance pays has been proved by the fact that with the DDA providing a dedicated corridor, no displacement of buildings and other facilities in construction took place as while constructing other lines of the Metro.

The availability of a wide corridor also meant that this is the only stretch where the Metro tracks or viaduct is supported not on a single big pillar, but over two small pillars side by side.

Utilities across the corridor such as telecom, electrical supply, water pipeline and sewer lines were shifted without any inconvenience to the public or disruption o the services. One major utility of 66 KV Double Circuit Tower Line feeding Gurgaon, which was infringing on the corridor near Dwarka Sector 11 station, was raised by DMRC without interruption of supply to Gurgaon.

Metro also altered its via-duct designs on this route. As there was no space constraints, instead of huge pier, this section has two light circular piers with small foundation base. Moreover, vertical plastic spikes have been installed at electrical poles to prevent birds from perching or nesting.

The DDA is now planning to develop greenery along the corridor beneath the viaduct. Also, at the Metro stations, the DMRC has provided 250 sq km of parking space beneath the viaduct.

The DDA making land available around the Metro stations also means that the area surrounding the stations will be as modern as the surroundings. There has been a greater focus on aesthetics while building the stretch. Meanwhile, trains on the Barakhamba Road-Dwarka line, which till now only ran till the outskirts of Dwarka, would now also pass through sectors 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 and 9 in the sub-city.

As per C V K Rao, Director (P and P), the total cost of the section was Rs 430 crores of which the DDA provided about Rs 320 crore for the construction of the Metro stations, which included cost of infrastructure, civil, electrical, signaling and telecommunication work. Rs 110-crore — cost of the rolling stock such as trains — was borne by the DMRC.

The operation and maintenance cost of the corridor will also be borne by the DMRC.

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CAG raps DDA for irregularities in land sale
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The Comptroller and Auditor General’s report has pointed out that the Delhi Development Authority was deprived of prime land worth Rs 92.06 lakh because of failure to take timely action to cancel the allotment of a plot despite persistent breaches of terms of allotment.

Composition fees of Rs 43.45 lakh also remained unrecovered, the report says.

The report says that the DDA allotted an industrial plot at Rewari Line Industry Area, Phase-II (Mayapuri Industrial Area) measuring 605 sq. yards to Rex Auto Industries in September 1966. However, the lessee did not construct the building within the stipulated time limit. Extension of time was granted upto June 1978.

Despite this extension, no building was constructed. The allottee expired in May 1988 but in breach of the lease terms, no notice was given of the devolution of the title of the plot.

Citing that the DDA took no action on the breaches of the terms of the lease except to issue routine show cause notices in December 1992 and in June 1996, the report says, in August 1998, 10 years after the date of death of the allottee, the mother of the deceased proprietor of the firm requested DDA to grant extension of time to complete the building and to transfer the plot in her name.

The plot was transferred in her name in May 1999 and extension of time for construction was granted in January 2001 upto June 2001, subject to payment of a composition fee of Rs. 1.10 crore which included ground rent due up to 14 July 2001 and interest on ground rent upto 14 March 2001.

Thereafter, on the representation of the party, the Vice-Chairman of DDA waived the composition fee for the period 1968 to 1975 and from 31 August 1998 to 18 June 2001, the CAG notes.

A revised demand letter for Rs. 43.45 lakh was issued in June 2001. But the party again appealed for waiver of the entire amount, which was not agreed to. The buyer resold the plot in September 2002.

The occupier of the property carried out unauthorised constructions in January 2003 and covered 100 per cent of the plot. No clearance was obtained from the authority for these transactions as required under the lease agreement.

The DDA finally cancelled the allotment of the plot in May 2003. The occupants filed a case before the Additional District Judge, Delhi, who passed orders for initiation of eviction proceeding under the Public Premises Act, 1971 for violation of the terms of the lease deed. The eviction proceedings were in progress (December 2005).

The report says, “evidently DDA had failed at every stage to enforce the terms of the lease and to protect its interest by ascertaining the status of the land, particularly during the period of construction, so as to ensure timely action to repossess the plot”.

It further adds, “In fact, no action was taken till receipt of complaint in January 2003. DDA could have resumed possession of the land when the party failed to pay the revised composition fee in June 2001 itself. Persistent inaction on the part of DDA resulted in its being deprived of prime land worth Rs. 92.06 lakh valued at the current market rate and non-recovery of the composition fees including ground rent and interest thereon of Rs. 43.45 lakh”.

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Property transfer cess hiked by 50 per cent in Noida
Parmindar Singh

Noida, March 25
After the hike in land rates in Noida and Greater Noida, it is the turn of the property transfer tax rates. These have been hiked by 50 per cent. Now, all those going in for sale and purchase of property will have to shell out more money.

Mostly, the buyers will have to pay this tax which will be effective from April 1, 2006. Currently, land is being sold or purchased as per the current market rates and not according to Noida Authority rates.

A lot many people had made considerable profit from the sale and purchase of land till the Noida Authority hiked the land rates. Henceforth, a considerable part of their profit percentage will be passed on to the Noida Authority.

The property transfer tax or cess has been increased as per the categories of residential sectors. In industrial sectors, the cess will be determined according to Phase-I, Phase-II and Phase-III. Even for commercial and institutional plots, the property transfer tax has been hiked in accordance with the respective increase in land rates.

The Noida Authority is understood to have increased the land rates and the property transfer tax rates in view of the increase in real estate transactions. The Noida Authority may not be left with any land to sell in the years to come but the property transfer tax will continue to remain a dependable source of income for the Authority.

Already, buyers and sellers of property are thronging the Noida Authority office for transfer of property before the hiked rates come into force on April 1, 2006.

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RWA body miffed over admn apathy
Ravi S.Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, March 25
Various residents welfare associations (RWAs) of HUDA sectors here are miffed with the district administration over its alleged apathy towards their grievances.

Representatives of 17 RWAs, who have come together under an umbrella body called the Federation of Residents Welfare Associations (FORWA), today met and expressed concern over the continuing problems relating to civic amenities in HUDA sectors and the alleged unresponsive attitude of the HUDA officials.

The meeting was held under the aegis of FORWA and presided over by its Chairman, Mr Dharam Sagar.

FORWA members, however, said the problem was not a new one. It had been persisting for many years. Things remain the same, if not worse.

Representatives of FORWA, who are office-bearers of various RWAs, had also met the Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, a few days ago regarding their problems.

According to Mr Dharam Sagar, the RWA representatives, at the meeting today, recalled their problems regarding poor drainage system in the sectors. The overwhelming view was that the stormwater drains remained mostly non-functional. Also, road gullies were not properly maintained to ensure proper flow of water. Consequently, rain water flowed on the roads, contributing in large measure to damaging them.

FORWA members also trained their guns on the poor condition of sewers, which gave a lie to the repeated claims of the district administration and HUDA on the salubrious sanitary conditions in the sectors. Participants expressed the view that sewers generally remained choked.

Another major issue agitating the minds of the RWAs was garbage accumulation in the vacant plots in HUDA sectors. The members’ view was that on an average there were about 15 per cent vacant plots in the sectors. Their demand was that since HUDA had been taking external development charges from buyers of plots to set up houses on them, the authorities must get the vacant plots cleaned up at least twice a year at government cost.

The residents also expressed worry over the crimes committed by Bangaldeshi nationals here and in other parts of the National Capital Region. They were categorical that the unchecked influx of Bangladeshi population in the city had led to increase in thefts, chain snatching etc. Immediate action was needed to curb such incidents, they added.

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Air compressor blast leaves 14 injured
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
At least 14 persons, including three children, were injured when an air compressor exploded in a cycle shop here today.

According to the police, the explosion took place at around 10 a.m. in Shakarpur area of east Delhi. The blast occurred in a shop used to fill gas cylinders in a three-storeyed building in School Block Part II of the locality.

The roof of the basement caved in following the blast, trapping several labourers working there, police sources said, adding the fire department rushed six fire tenders to the spot for rescue operations.

The impact of the blast was such that two floors of the building were affected and a fire broke out immediately.

MCD officials have declared the building “unfit” for occupation, the sources said.

The injured have been admitted to Lal Bahadur Shastri and Lok Nayak Jayarakash Narayan hospitals. Though the condition of the injured is said to be stable, they continue to be under medical supervision.

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News Analysis
A tale of empty promises and no sense of ground realities
Raahul Gul
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
It’s hard to say just yet if the timing of Ms Sonia Gandhi’s dramatic resignation helps her party’s prospects in the forthcoming Assembly elections, which is what, according to her detractors, motivated her actions to some degree. But thanks to the media’s subsequent overkill over the event, it certainly helped drown out from public attention a significant development relating to the water treatment plant sharing its name with the Congress president.

The reference is to the statement of Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Minister on Wednesday ruling out the possibility of releasing water for the Capital till the Tehri dam became operational in 2010. Which effectively leaves the Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant high and dry.

That’s because the plant, built at a cost of Rs 880 crore was conceived on the presumption that UP would divert 300 cubic feet per second (cusecs) water to the Capital. The water is to originate from Tehri dam and flow down to Muradnagar though Upper Ganga Canal before being piped to Delhi.

The statement is just the latest twist in the tale of Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant, with reassuring statements and counter-statements made over the years by politicians.

UP Chief Minister has on several occasions spoken about the issue, both for and against it. Last year, the then UP Irrigation Minister, firmly ruled out the release of water.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has claimed that the plant was going to get functional “soon” umpteen number of times, as have other Delhi ministers and bureaucrats. Last year, the water was supposed to come in “within 48 hours”.

In popular perception, the project is ‘jinxed’, with the plant running into problems right from the word go.

It all started with awarding contracts to private firms. While the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) was given the contract for building the conduit in UP, French company Ondeo Degremont was given the plum share of the pie. A subsidiary of the water giant Suez Lyonnaise, Degremont got a 10-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract with DJB for the plant, designed for a capacity of 635 million litres a day, primarily meant for south Delhi.

Critics saw the contract, whose terms have apparently been kept as a ‘secret’, as a move towards privatisation. While Degremont will get the raw water for free, the amount it will get as fee for treating the water will be much in excess of what the DJB will charge the consumers, they say.

Then, farmers in UP started protesting as the project envisaged diverting water from irrigation in the state to quench the thirst of the Capital’s growing population.

Many NGOs say this is, in fact, all about diverting water from the poor to the rich, from rural areas to urban/industrialized areas. And each diversion will create ‘water wars’ as it did in Tonk.

Last year in June, 5 farmers were shot dead by the police in Tonk during a protest demanding their share in the water from Bisalpur dam, which is diverting water to Jaipur under an ADB project. Sonia Gandhi, incidentally, had then rushed to Tonk, denouncing the police action strongly.

And yet, say critics, the Congress seems intent on doing exactly that: Rob poor farmers of water for the benefit of Delhiites.

Not that anybody cares for the poor, of course. If Mulayam Singh’s government is denying the water to Delhi, it’s simply because they need their votes.

Meanwhile, the water scarcity in the Capital is set to escalate into a crisis over the next few years, what with its ground water likely to run dry in the next decade. A comparison of water levels in 1977, 1983 and 1995 presents a clear picture of depletion of ground water level in the city, according to a report by Centre for Science and Environment. In 1977, the water table was within six metres in most parts of Delhi. It declined to 10 metre by 1983 and to 20 metres in 1995. The city’s water requirement is likely to go to 1050 million gallon per day over the next few years. Currently, the DJB pipes about 650 mgd of water to the city.

Most of us take water for granted, as much as the air we breathe in, or our conviction that although Pakistan has nuclear warheads pointed at Delhi, they’d never actually be fired.

The truth is that the situation is truly critical, and things may actually reach a point depicted in Ruchir Joshi’s ‘The last jet-engine laugh’. Set in around 2017, the author describes people killing each other over tankers of water and how the water is so bad that “you can’t let it close to any opening in your body, not if you want to live for any length of time. Sometimes I find myself hoping that once, just once before I die, I can wash myself with water”. And he’s referring to ablutions, not a bath.

It may well come to that.

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No electricity in MCD school: DERC notice to BSES
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission has issued a notice to BSES Yamuna Power Limited following a complaint filed by the RETF (Right to Education Task Force) alleging that BSES has failed to provide electricity connection to a MCD school in the Capital.

In their complaint, the RETF had pointed out that despite remittance of the required charges, BSES has failed to provide electricity connection to the school, thereby making it difficult for the students to study. Volunteers of RETF who visited the MCD school in Vasundhara Enclave found that the school was not provided an electricity connection even after the required amount for the connection amounting to Rs 8,000 was deposited on January 27.

According to the volunteers, the school has been without electricity for more than a year. “Owing to this lapse on the part of the BSES, children there are suffering. The BSES is expected to install the electricity meter within 25 days of the application and depositing of required fee and are liable for punishment if the meter is not installed in time,” an office bearer of the RETF pointed out.

RETF is a unit of Social Jurist, a lawyers’ collective working for the realisation of child’s right to education. Each volunteer of RETF adopts one school run by the MCD, visits the school on regular basis and then highlights the irregularities found there.

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Traders welcome DDA’s liberal mixed land use policy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
A day after the DDA decided to amend the Master Plan 2021 to allow certain commercial activities in residential areas, traders in the national Capital have welcomed the decision to relax the controversial mixed land use policy.

Saying that the decision is a “step in the right direction”, traders said the measure would save thousands of families from being rendered homeless.

Hoping that the government would ensure that it the decision is implemented, Traders’ Associations said adding mixed land use in residential areas would spawn development. Relaxing the mixed land use norm, the DDA has decided to allow commercial establishments which deal in “non-hazardous trade” on the ground floor of residential areas which have an access road nine metres wide.

The list of commercial activities which will be allowed in residential areas include offices of chartered accountants, engineers, doctors, lawyers and designer, while retailing of building material and automobile products, cycle repair shops, tyre shops, battery charging, junk shops, liquor vends and printing, dyeing and varnishing would not be permitted. However, hours before the DDA’s decision, the Supreme Court directed the MCD to seal residential buildings used for commercial purposes from March 29 unless shop owners file affidavits by March 28 declaring that they would shut shop.

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IT Dept to conduct special GDA audit
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, March 25
Ghaziabad Development Authority officials are a worried lot these days. In view of its wayward functioning, the Income Tax Department has decided to conduct a special audit of the GDA. A special auditor has also been appointed for this purpose. This is for the first time that a special audit is being conducted of the GDA.

According to income tax officials, the special audit, which will be conducted over the next six months, will throw new light on the functioning and actions of the GDA. The GDA, which gets an exorbitant price for even ordinary things, will be under strict scrutiny of the Income Tax Department

A chartered accountant of New Delhi has already been appointed as the special auditor for the purpose. He will not only scrutinise the income and expenditure details of the GDA but details pertaining to many other important financial aspects will also be collected and examined. The GDA is not known to have ever shown its stock. Even sale and registration of land was also shown under the head “stock”. All such anomalies and aspects would be highlighted in the special audit, sources said.

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35 defaulters’ property to be auctioned
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 25
The district administration has decided to auction the property of 35 defaulters to achieve the target set for revenue collection. All these defaulters owe different departments of the government over Rs 1 lakh each.

The administration has also started a campaign to make recovery related to irrigation water cases from farmers. A recovery of Rs 15 lakh is to be made by the administration on behalf of the irrigation department. The case of imposing taxes on villagers who never used canal water for irrigation has also assumed importance. Farmers who had never irrigated their land with canal water have also been slapped with recovery notices.

The District Magistrate has, however, told irrigation and revenue department officials to scrutinise such cases and promptly resolve the cases of villagers who do not owe any money to the departments.

Certain defaulters are understood to have paid the amount to escape auction of their properties which had been attached. Dadri Tehsildar Kanhai Singh said the property of 35 defaulters who owe over Rs 1 lakh each would be auctioned on April 5. 

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Man robbed of Rs 1.25 lakh, bike at gunpoint
Our Correspondent

Noida, March 25
An employee of the general secretary of the Jain Samaj was deprived of Rs.1.25 lakh and a motorbike at gunpoint near Sab Mall, Sector 27, here last evening. The police have started investigations after inspecting the spot. The incident created a scare in the busy Atta Bazaar. The police felt the scooter abandoned by the criminals was a stolen one.

Mr Hans Raj Vaid, general secretary of the Jain Samaj, has a stationery shop in the market. He had employed a Rajasthani youth, Gopal, who was returning after making some collection last evening at 8 pm on his motorbike. Two men on a scooter hit Gopal’s motorbike from the rear. As he lost control of the vehicle, the two abandoned their scooter, which must be stolen, and sped away on the motorbike.

Before leaving, they snatched the money bag. 

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