The Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for deciding to convert a park in a residential area here into a community centre, saying it was “playing with tax payers’ money”. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar stayed the construction of the community centre and issued notice to the office of the Lieutenant Governor, DDA and North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on a plea seeking to restrain them from “destroying the park” in north Delhi’s Rohini area.
“You (DDA) cannot convert a park into a construction. You are playing with tax payers’ money. Imagine if your (DDA counsel) house is converted into a community hall or a wedding centre. Parks are parks. Do not turn them into community centres,” the bench said. It also asked the authorities concerned if any objection was raised by the residents in the area and directed them to give a report about details of the proposed community centre.
“You file your affidavit with regard to details of the people who can be accommodated if the community centre is built at the park. How many vehicles can be parked? What will be the mechanism regarding collection and disposal of garbage? Was there any objection raised by residents of the area?” it said. The court also sought details of the amount spent on construction of the open gym in the park and why was it necessary for the DDA to construct the community centre in that park.
“Justify why is it necessary,” it said and posted the matter for next hearing on September 18. Petitioner Navya Singh has approached the high court through advocate Dheeraj Kumar Singh, seeking to restrain the authorities from constructing a multi-storey community hall inside the Hanuman Mandir park at sector 8, Rohini here.
The petition claimed that the residents of the locality, especially children, were severely affected and aggrieved by the “illegal and arbitrary decision” of the DDA to construct the centre which will “destroy” the 30-year-old park. “The decision of the DDA was an example of poor planning by the authority and wastage of the public money as there already existed a community hall constructed by the NDMC which was being used for public functions,” it said.
The petition also claimed that there was a vacant plot of DDA land available in the area which was planned for community services so there was no justification to destroy the park.