The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is taking a series of steps to crack down on a cartel — popularly known as the ‘tent mafia’ — which has a virtual monopoly over booking of marriage venues owned by the authority.
Inspection of marriage venues by its engineers and surprise checks by flying squads from DDA’s Vigilance department are among the measures being taken by the authority to rein in the ‘tent mafia’.
In another step, marriage venues will be let out to — and payments made by — only blood relations of prospective brides and grooms.
Details of brides and grooms will also have to be provided at the time of booking a venue, which will be verified through surprise checks on the day of marriage or at the time of refund of security deposit.
“DDA vice-chairman Balvinder Kumar had received several complaints regarding manipulation of bookings by the ‘tent mafia’ despite there being an online system for making bookings,” DDA spokesperson Neemo Dhar said.
“An inspection of the venue will be done on the day of marriage by our junior engineers to ensure that the site is being used only by the person who booked it. Flying squads from our vigilance wing will also carry out surprise checks of venues,” a DDA official said.
The DDA has 351 marriage venues, which it plans to divide into four categories. Up to 46 venues will be auctioned to people from higher income groups. “These sites, considered premium spaces measuring up to 2,000 sqm, will be auctioned to those who can pay higher rates,” the official said.
These sites, which are most sought-after, will be auctioned through e-tendering at the beginning of each financial year.
Another 315 sites, which constitute about 85 per cent of the marriage venues owned by the DDA, will be open for bookings by middle-class or lower middle-class people.
The booking rates for different categories are being worked out. Nineteen sites have been selected for developing Kalyan Mandapams (multi-storeyed wedding venues).
At 34 venues, steel trusses will be erected, so that those booking them can put up tents in the minimum time.