Terming the record of the DDA in securing lands acquired by it “appalling”, the Delhi High Court has directed creation of a unit for evolving land management policies and clear encroachments on public land.
The direction was issued to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the Delhi government and the Centre by a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg, which said the team or cell should be given statutory status and be manned by high ranking officers.
The court said the Centre shall consider the feasibility of creating such a body with its personnel.
“This unit or cell, in the opinion of the court, should continuously monitor the land management policies of DDA and ensure that wherever needed, court orders are implemented and also oversee all other relevant aspects,” the bench said.
The directions by the court came while disposing of a 12 -year-old PIL that the DDA was unable to secure its land in Delhi and that a large extent of up to 42,000 acres was either encroached or not taken possession of.
The bench said that “the long, 12-year saga of this case has revealed that DDA’s record in securing lands acquired by it and in taking over possession as well as in ensuring them to be encroachment free, has been appalling”.
It said there was never any clarity about the total extent of land acquired by the authority and what was indeed in its possession.
“Even as on date, precise details are not forthcoming, readily,” the bench noted.
It said that acquisition proceedings are undertaken at considerable public expense and cost with a view of executing a planned public project, but before the project can start the acquired land is encroached upon.
As a result, the DDA or the agency concerned was “unable to execute the project in a timely manner” and in some cases it “cannot progress and is impeded to a great extent”, the bench said.
( Source – PTI )