June 15, 2015 1:22:00 am
Stating that the Delhi government’s request for free land to park 10,000 buses can be processed only through an amendment to the Nazul (land holding) rules, Delhi’s premier land-owning agency DDA has asked it to approach the Ministry of Urban Development. This comes after the Delhi government last month sought land for construction of bus depots in an attempt to expand the fleet.
Sources said that last week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and senior officials held a meeting with DDA to discuss the matter. This was following a request the government had made before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last month, requesting the tribunal to direct DDA to provide land.
During the meeting, Kejriwal reportedly spoke of how the city was in need of expanding its fleet of buses to provide more public transport facilities to the public. Kejriwal is said to have demanded at least 250 acres of land for parking 10,000 buses. He also pointed out how it would be difficult to pay for the land at the prevailing rates.
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An acre of land for commercial purposes costs Rs 4.5 crore. As per the Nazul rules, only land for educational purposes is given free of cost. Land for other purposes such as hospitals is charged at current rates.
Expressing its inability to pay more than Rs 1,000 crore, government officials requested for a way out. The DDA then asked them to approach the Ministry to bring about a change in the Nazul rules. “We informed them that we were only following rules and that if land was to be availed for commercial purposes, the Nazul rules will have to be amended. Since the Ministry is the ultimate authority on this, we asked them to approach them” a DDA official said.
A senior Delhi government official said, “Presently, the city has 42 depots. Additional land is required to ensure commuter’s comfort and encourage the idea of public transport. We will approach the ministry since this is a matter of public interest.”
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