Thursday, May 29, 2003
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By Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
Sources in DDA said today that to crack down on various institutions which have been illegally using the allotted premises for purposes other than those stipulated in the agreements, the authority would first ask all the institutions to submit affidavits proclaiming compliance to norms of allotment.
Failure to comply with this demand or false representation of facts would lead to severe punishment extending to even cancellation of the allotment. Also, to ensure that those filing false affidavits do not get away easily, DDA would conduct random surveys of various premises and initiate proceedings against those found in the wrong.
A senior official said the proposal, which has been sent for legal validation, would ensure that DDA land is no longer misused for commercial purposes by the allottees. "We have had a bitter experience with an leading hospital which was allotted land for Rupee 1 but refuses to acknowledge its social commitments.''
Stating that the case has been dragged up to the High Court, the official said as a policy matter now DDA no longer allots land to hospitals -- barring government ones -- at concessional rates. All allotments to hospitals are not through open bidding only.
Pointing out that institutional land was given out by DDA to educational, health care, socio-cultural and religious institutions, the official said the allotments are on pre- determined concessional rates and on certain conditions contained in the lease deed or allotment letter.
``The social obligations are ingrained in these conditions. Schools are required to provide free education to poor children from weaker sections to the extent of 25 per cent of the total seats. Likewise, they are not supposed to raise the fees without prior approval from the Directorate of Education and are supposed to give preference to children residing within a radius of 5 kilometres.''
Similarly, the hospital are required to provide free treatment and medicines to 25 per cent of the patients in the OPD and 10 per cent in the indoors category. Along with the 25 per cent cents which they are expected to keep reserved for free treatment of the poor, the official said the scheme wants them to perform some social responsibility as well.
Lamenting that most of the educational and health institutions were blatantly flouting the norms, the official noted that even clubs which are supposed to have residents of specified colonies around them as members and community halls, which are meant for use by residents living in an 8 km radius alone, are openly violating the term conditions.
The norms have been flouted in the past as while the land was allotted by DDA on the recommendation of the Centre and Delhi Government, it was not clearly determined who would take necessary action in the event of a violation. So, action was found wanting.
But following the DDA land scam unearthed by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the interest shown by the Prime Minister himself in ensuring that the agency took its responsibilities seriously, the department is working hard on cracking down on the wrongdoers.
And with the draft for the plan of action is likely to get the formal approval in less than two month's time, it seems finally all those institutions which have availed of all concessions but failed to discharge their social duties would seem merit in adhering to the norms.
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