The Delhi High Court today pulled up the land owning agency DDA and the municipal corporation of north Delhi for not ensuring that traders from the walled city shift to the integrated freight complex (IFC) in Narela, even after plots have been alloted for the purpose. The purpose of the IFC is to act as a centre for off-loading and picking up wholesale goods by road and rail from and to other states to decongest the national capital.
Concerned over the “wastage of tax payers money” with which the IFC has been set up, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar were of the view that if the markets, including chemical traders, were shifted from central and Old Delhi to Narela, it would decongest these areas. The court said that allowing chemical traders to continue where they are has led to “disastrous consequences, including overcrowding and congestion” and shifting them and others to the IFC would lead to occupancy of the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) “languishing flats” there.
The DDA said it was the North MCD’s responsibility to ensure that those allotted the land shift to the new location. The court suggested cancellation of the allotments of such persons and shutting down of their businesses if they do not shift to these commercial complexes.
“Tax payers money is being wasted. Why are you (DDA and North MCD) not doing your job? It is mind-boggling to think that a project with such a huge money value is being permitted to slide, while the Supreme Court, National Green Tribunal and this court are struggling with pollution issues. It is only because the officials are not doing their duty,” it said.
The bench directed the DDA and North MCD to carry out a joint inspection of the walled city to identify the chemical traders who have not shifted to Narela despite being granted possession of plots for setting up shop. It directed them to file a report after the inspection and listed the matter for hearing on December 19.
The DDA has to indicate in its report the time limit within which the allottees have to construct shops in the allotted plots and the steps taken for cancellation of allotment where construction has not taken place. The court was hearing an NGO’s plea seeking shifting of the wholesale markets from the walled city to the IFC.
The court also made the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), Northern Railway and the Delhi government’s transport department a party in the matter, as all of them have been alloted land in the IFC Narela and others at Dwarka, Madanpur Khadar and Ghazipur. The authorities have been directed to file status reports when they got possession of the land, the state of construction there, details of allotment and the timeline in which facilities would be commissioned at the IFCs.
The DJB has to provide details with regard to development of sewerage and water distribution networks, its processing and sanctions received. While seeking details, the bench said “it has to be borne in mind that the land allotted has been acquired after spending considerable public funds” which would be further spent on the protection and preservation of these plots.