ON THE context of amending the existing laws to resolve the issue of sealing of unauthorised commercial establishments in Delhi, Union MoS (Housing and Urban Affairs) Hardeep Singh Puri said the Centre has “the absolute right to make any changes to the Master Plan whether it changes its basic character or not”.
“Delhi has become an unlivable city. There has been a culture of impunity when it comes to issues relating to this city. Most people who had the responsibility to act are guilty of acts of omission and commission, which has led to the current problem,” Puri told The Indian Express.
He said that from the time the existing Master Plan came into being, the Congress has been in power in the Centre and in Delhi. In 2014, the AAP took over. “Even when the first Master Plan of Delhi came about in 1962, the Congress was in power. Courts step in when there is an abdication of duties by the government. These people have allowed the courts to step in,” he said.
Puri said the Ministry data shows that there have been 234 modifications to the existing Master Plan and 41 notifications have been issued to that effect by the Union Ministry of Urban Development. “Now at this point, it is absurd to say that tweaking the Master Plan will make the problem worse. The Master Plan is not cast in stone. It is a living document which has to be anchored in ground reality. The central government has the absolute right to make any modification to the Delhi Master Plan or the Zonal Plan, whether it changes its basic character or not,” he said.
Dismissing CM Arvind Kejriwal’s demand that the Centre bring in an ordinance to stop the sealing, Puri said amendment to the Master Plan is the only solution. “What is the need for an ordinance? This is a violation of the law. While there should be no sealing, traders too will have to pay as per law,” he said, adding that he would be “happy to meet Kejriwal” and discuss the issue.