After spending over three decades on the wait list, nearly 19,000 people in Delhi have received offer of allotment for homes that they had applied for with the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). But not many appear interested.
“In the last few months we have published at least six advertisements in Hindi newspapers to reach out to the applicants. But so far only 1,150 have contacted us, accepting allotment of tenements,” said a top-level official in the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) that is responsible for implementation of the scheme.
Since August last year, the board has also reached out to the applicants by sending letters to their home addresses.
Akhilesh Pati Tripathi, a member of the DUSIB and also an AAP MLA, told Firspost, “When people applied for the homes three decades back, they had been asked to write their addresses in the application forms. We have used the address details mentioned to write to them, letting them know about the offer.”
He also conceded that very few people had responded.
Last year, the DUSIB, a Delhi government agency, decided to revive the housing scheme floated by the Centre-controlled DDA back in 1985. The project was meant to rehabilitate members of the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
According to a Times of India report, about 27,000 people had applied for homes in 1985 and 19,000 of them remained on the wait list.
“The slum wing of the DDA got shifted to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in 1993 and to the DUSIB in 2010, as a result of which the scheme was buried,” said the source.
Last year, reviving the old scheme, the DUSIB announced its decision to allot flats to these 19,000 people. The move came after a number of applicants went to court.
Naresh Pandey, a resident of Gur Mandi in north Delhi who applied for a house in 1985 and has received a letter from the DUSIB offering him allotment, expressed his happiness over the move.
“I applied for the home a year before my second son, Kunal, was born. Now he is 33 years old and helps me in my business. But I am happy that finally the home is ready,” he said.
Pandey added that he along with the other applicants paid Rs 3,000 each as an advance amount to the DDA at the time of application.
“Though Rs 3,000 was a big amount for me, I did not ask for a refund in the last 34 years as I believed that one day I would have a home of my own,” he said.
The businessman said that he also deposited Rs 50, 000 with the DUSIB recently to avail the home.
However, not everyone is happy with the situation, as the price of the houses allotted under the scheme has skyrocketed from what it was in 1985.
“When we applied for the flats we were told that each of them would cost Rs 35,000. But now the DUSIB is selling a house for Rs 13 lakh. We want the flats to be sold at the original rate,” said another applicant, who did not wish to be named.
He also said that many applicants not come forward to claim the flats because of the price escalation.
Firstpost found a copy of the advertisement published in 1985 for allotment of homes by DDA. It mentions that though the price of each flat had been fixed at Rs 35,000, this should not be considered final, as it is subject to fluctuations in the property market.
But BJP MLA Vijender Gupta says that apart from the higher price, delay in allotment could also be a reason for most applicants displaying disinterest.
“Lots of changes have taken place in the last 34 years. The next generation of the applicants have come up and they might not be interested in living in those flats,” he said.
He added that many applicants may have pushed themselves out of the Economically Weaker Sections bracket and so they might not be interested in the scheme any more.
The applicants will be allotted flats in newly built apartments in Savda Ghevra, located on the outskirts of the city near the Tikri border between Delhi and Haryana.
Only three years ago, Desh Raj, a Delhi resident and an applicant of the scheme, filed a complaint with the Delhi State Commission, seeking compensation for the delay in allotting flats.
The commission ordered that the government pay Raj Rs 20 lakh as compensation for causing “harassment, inconvenience, sadness, anguish and mental agony” in a span of thirty years, according to a Hindustan Times report.
The DUSIB has kept a provision for the applicants to opt out of the scheme by taking the deposited money of Rs 3,000 with the interest accumulated over three decades.
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Updated Date: Jun 21, 2019 17:57:15 IST