For 25,000 citizens, housing dream turns into a nightmare
NEW DELHI: Owning a house in Delhi remains a distant dream for about 25,000 people who were to be allotted plots under a DDA scheme launched in 1981. Thirty-five years and several court cases later, the land-owning agency is yet to provide basic services like water and electricity in some sectors in Rohini where these plots are located. Last year, 11,000 people were allotted plots in the “developed” sectors 28, 29, 30 and parts of 34.
“This is what you call development?” said Rakesh Khurana, a retired bank employee, pointing at some trees in the middle of which is supposed to be an arterial road in Sector 29. He took possession of his plot last year. But Khurana, who lives in Noida, said he couldn’t think of constructing a house there. “After 35 years, we are given plots in an area which doesn’t have basic facilities like water, streetlights, etc. I can’t think of coming here alone during daytime. How will we live here?”
The 11,000 allottees, most of whom are senior citizens, cite lack of infrastructure as the prime reason for not taking possession. And those who have taken possession are unwilling to start construction. But DDA claims it has developed sectors 28, 29, 30 and parts of 34 but unable to maintain them due to the rising cases of theft. Besides the lack of streetlights, roads with open manhole have been a common feature in many pockets.
Allottees also complain that the land-owning authority didn’t give them on-site possession of plots. “We were asked to sign the papers in the DDA office. No one told showed us the plot. Most of us had a tough time locating our plots,” said Naresh Sehgal, who has a plot in Sector 34.
Upset with DDA’s lackadaisical attitude, allottees staged a protest last Sunday. They followed that up with another protest at Jantar Mantar on March 27. “Even if we decided to start construction work, we need some basic support. There is no water. Some people had constructed a one or two-room set-up here just to get their property freehold. But those were vandalised by anti-social elements. The entire area is deserted and unsafe. In some sectors, construction of sewer and drainage is still going on,” said Raj Kumar Jain, general secretary of Rohini Residential Scheme 1981 Association.
According to DDA officials, streetlights get stolen whenever they are installed. “You can see the poles. We have replaced streetlights several times. But thieves continue to target them,” said a senior DDA official.
As for water, DDA says the infrastructure is in place, but the supply will start once people complete their construction. “We can’t give water for construction. They will have to make their own arrangement. They will have to make arrangements for security as well as DDA is not responsible for it. As for the electricity, we have told discoms to provide power connections as and when people apply for the same,” said an official in-charge of the area.
DDA officials also claim that none of the allottees have approached them with any problem. “They can come to us and discuss their problems. But no one has come so far,” said an official.
DDA is supposed to handover plots to 14,000-odd allottees by July this year in sector 34, 35, 36 and 37. But officials admit that they can’t do so as these areas are yet to be developed.
“I’m in my 70s. When will I get the plot? People have invested their life’s earnings but they (DDA) are not bothered,” said Capt M S Uppal (retd), the president of the association.