CVC Orders Inquiry into DDA Corruption in FAR Construction
Highlights of the Report
- By giving permission for FAR extended construction and pollution, the Indian government has become the first government in the contemporary world that wants to kill its own people en masse.
- The FAR construction in inhabited housing complexes – where people are living – is being compared to the poisonous gas chambers used by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust for the genocide of millions of European Jews.
- The pollution-laden FAR construction is part of a multi-crore-rupees corruption scandal being run by criminals who act under the garb of elected managing committee (MC) members in group housing societies.
- While Delhi / Indian government is tacitly supporting the criminal racket under the FAR scheme, it is being run by corrupt MC members, law-breaking residents, and lawless construction companies.
- As DDA has been giving approvals for unauthorized FAR constructions, the Delhi High Court has intervened to save people from FAR-based pollution and disturbance.
- DDA or any other government department does not have any authority to overrule the provisions of the Constitution such as Article 21 that allows every citizen to live in a clean, pollution-free environment.
- Now the CVC has also directed the Vigilance department of DDA to investigate the cases of corruption in FAR approvals, as I have given the details to CVC.
- DDA is expected to immediately stop the future and ongoing FAR projects, and demolish the existing FAR constructions in occupied housing societies.
By Rakesh Raman
India’s top anti-corruption organization Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has directed the Vigilance department of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to investigate the corruption allegations against DDA officials who are handling the floor area ratio (FAR) projects particularly in group housing societies.
As a journalist and social activist, I have been informing the top officials of DDA about the inhuman FAR construction happening in Delhi’s cooperative group housing societies which are mostly controlled by corrupt managing committee (MC) members.
The extended building construction which is happening under the government’s corrupt FAR rules is going to harm at least one million people who live in and around Delhi’s cooperative group housing societies.
With this ill-conceived FAR policy, the Delhi Government is using extended construction as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) which will first torture people with the lethal dust and noise pollution and then finally kill them mercilessly.
By giving permission for FAR construction and pollution, the Indian government has become the first government in the contemporary world that wants to kill its own people en masse.
The FAR construction in inhabited housing complexes – where people are living – is being compared to the poisonous gas chambers used by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust for the genocide of approximately 6 million European Jews.
Criminality in FAR Construction
The new FAR scheme obliquely allows inhabited group housing complexes of Delhi to extend their existing buildings by vaguely allowing individual flat owners to add more rooms, etc. while ignoring the health and safety concerns of others who prefer to live in a clean, peaceful environment. This is a blatant violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.
In the case of occupied group housing societies, even when one resident objects to extended construction, it cannot be carried out because it endangers their life and it will violate Article 21 of the Constitution, besides the breach of many other existing laws.
The decision for harmful construction of MCs can also be construed as an attempt to murder, as the construction-related pollution, disturbance, and possible accidents can kill innocent human beings.
While MCs contend that the majority of members support them in General Body Meetings (GBMs), their majority argument is meaningless. By this weird logic, if majority of the members say that they should kill others, will the MC of a Society kill the innocent people? The majority rule cannot apply in such cases where even one person’s life is at risk.
Moreover, DDA or any other government department does not have any authority to overrule the provisions of the Constitution such as Article 21 that allows every citizen to live in a clean, pollution-free environment. It is a big crime if DDA has contravened the constitutional law and deprived the citizens of their fundamental right to live peacefully.
A few months ago, I had met Praveen Dhamija, Dy. Dir. (Bldg.) in DDA office to explain him the cruelty and lawlessness involved in FAR construction in occupied group housing societies. It appeared from his response that he has understood about the criminality in FAR construction, but for unknown reasons he did not take steps to stop the FAR construction activity.
Although later DDA had sent an officer to meet me and who had assured me that in future DDA will be cautious in giving any approvals for FAR construction in housing societies, DDA did nothing to stop FAR projects.
Clean House Social Service
Today, millions of common residents in Delhi are victims of the terror unleashed by the corrupt managing committee (MC) members of different cooperative group housing societies.
In order to help the suffering residents raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice in housing societies, I have been running a community-driven free online social service under the banner “Clean House”.
It works as an interface to inform the government departments and law-enforcement agencies in India and abroad about the cases of corruption and other irregularities happening in housing societies.
If you want “Clean House” to report about the corruption and illegal activities in your housing society, you may please contact me with relevant documents and details.
Rather, it is learnt that DDA is still giving FAR approvals because there is a huge opportunity for corruption in such extended construction projects which are replete with financial frauds and other irregularities.
There are cases in which the corrupt MC members of housing societies openly claim that they will bribe the DDA officials to get approvals for FAR construction. The plans of housing societies clearly violate the Unified Building Bye Laws (UBBL) and other regulations, but DDA gives approvals for such illegal projects.
In fact, DDA is deceptively helping the corrupt MC members to make their proposals in such a way that they could be cleared even when the violate the laws. In some cases, when DDA knows that some MC members of a housing society are facing multiple corruption inquiries, DDA accepts their FAR proposals without waiting for the outcome of such inquiries.
Recently, even the court has observed that FAR construction is illegal. In an ongoing case, the Delhi High Court has ordered to stop the extended construction activity which was being carried out under the dubious FAR policy at a cooperative group housing society in Dwarka, New Delhi.
While the construction activity has stopped before completion under court directions, the accused MC members have got the building material removed from the Society premises. The court is also questioning DDA in this case, as the affected residents have alleged that the DDA officials were bribed to get approvals for illegal construction.
DDA Corruption and CVC Inquiry
Since DDA was not willing to stop FAR construction despite its lethality, I approached the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) – which is supposed to check corruption in government departments – with the request to investigate the role of concerned DDA officials in FAR projects.
After studying the case that I had sent, the CVC took cognizance of the matter and directed the Vigilance department of DDA to investigate it further. As a result, DDA has informed me that it has planned to take action in this case.
Although there is a long way to go, this is a welcome step that DDA – which is known as one of the most corrupt departments in Delhi – has expressed its willingness to catch the corrupt officials.
Reports also suggest that DDA has planned to fix responsibility on its officials in cases of illegal construction activities and violation of the master plan and building bye-laws in Delhi.
Last week, in this regard DDA placed an action plan before the Supreme Court of India. Attorney General K. K. Venugopal, who appeared for DDA, told the bench that rampant corruption is happening in DDA and stringent measures need to be taken to stop this corruption.
In its action plan, DDA has stated that it intends to check all ongoing and future unauthorised constructions in the city under the supervision of a Special Task Force (STF) which was constituted last month following an apex court order.
Moreover, with an emphasis on preventive vigilance, CVC is developing an Integrity Index for critical organizations. Initially 25 organizations have been selected for the development of Index. DDA is among these organizations.
The horrific DDA example shows that the government systems have stopped working completely while public requests are falling on deaf ears. As a result, ordinary citizens are being forced to take the extreme steps to go to courts for relief. But if courts have to do everything, why do we need bureaucrats and politicians who are supposed to provide smooth governance?
The sorry plight in Delhi indicates that India has already become a politically unstable banana republic with rampant lawlessness, corruption, and exploitation of the ordinary citizens.
Bureaucratic and political corruption has become pain in the neck for commoners in India. A new “Freedom in the World 2017” report – released by Freedom House, a Washington-based independent watchdog organization – highlights rampant political and bureaucratic corruption in India. It reveals that corruption has a negative effect on government efficiency and economic performance.
“Though politicians and civil servants at all levels are regularly caught accepting bribes or engaging in other corrupt behavior, a great deal of corruption goes unnoticed and unpunished,” the report said in its findings.
Similarly, global anti-corruption organization Transparency International has lowered India’s rank from last year’s position of 79 to 81 this year. According to the Transparency data, India with a poor score of 40 is more corrupt than countries such as China, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Mauritius.
If the situation is not controlled immediately, it is expected that soon international sanctions will be imposed on India because of government’s failure to stop increasing crime and corruption.
FAR Construction and Pollution
Today, it is a known fact that most politicians in India are illiterate and bureaucrats have no domain knowledge about any modern subject that is required to provide a smooth governance to the citizens.
Now bureaucrats’ lack of knowledge in the evolving subject of environment is visible in their decision to allow FAR construction and pollution in Delhi. With an utter disregard to the environment protection needs, the Government of India is breaking its own commitment to the global community.
The Union Cabinet of India chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given its approval to ratify the Paris Agreement (on Climate Change) on 2nd October 2016, the day of Gandhi Jayanti.
But unfortunately bureaucrats – who are allowing FAR-based pollution – do not understand the effect of pollution on Climate Change. They do not understand that the main cause of global warming or the human-led Climate Change is environmental pollution which contaminates the atmosphere with pollutants such as chemicals and energies.
Pollution, therefore, has become a major factor that is causing ‘global warming’ or Climate Change. As compared to the perils of environmental pollution that affect human health, the Climate Change brings mass destruction with floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunamis.
As India is already experiencing a trust deficit in the global arena because of its weak environmental protection policies, the country’s position will further get damaged if the government allowed the pollution-filled extended construction activity to continue in India’s capital New Delhi.
While the court has already intervened to save the people from pollution, the Delhi Government must also immediately stop the future and ongoing FAR projects, and demolish the existing FAR constructions in occupied housing societies.
Moreover, the government should also start prosecution of the government officials at DDA and RCS offices, MC members of housing societies, and other abettors who are virtually trying to kill people with FAR-based construction and pollution. The target should be to get all the culprits arrested and jailed. The sooner the better.
- The government including DDA must immediately stop the future and ongoing FAR projects, and demolish the existing FAR constructions in occupied housing societies.
- DDA must publicly put on its website each and every case (including documents) of ongoing and previous FAR proposals and inform clearly how it approved those proposals along with the names of officials involved in these approvals.
- DDA must also publicly release the names and addresses of housing societies that have applied for FAR construction, the names of their MC members, the names of residents who participate in FAR projects, and the names of builders, because all of them are partners in this fraud and environmental crime.
- DDA must give the names of MC members who apply for FAR construction, residents who participate in FAR projects, and builders to the police and other law-enforcement agencies so that further action could be taken against them.
- Moreover, DDA must also publicly put on its website each and every step of the planned inquiry under CVC directions, names of the officials who are facing this inquiry, names of investigation team members, all their verbal and written communications, and outcome of the inquiry at each step. A closed-door investigation will be meaningless.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.
About Rakesh Raman
Rakesh Raman is a government’s national award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with India’s leading media companies, he had been writing an edit-page column for The Financial Express, a business newspaper of the Indian Express group.
Nowadays, for the past about 7 years, he has been running his own global news services on different subjects. He also has formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi. He has created a comprehensive online information service to educate the Indian voters for the upcoming Lok Sabha election scheduled to happen in 2019.
He is also running a community-driven free online social service under the banner “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice in group housing societies where millions of people live.
He has created a comprehensive research report “Poisonous Particles + Noise Nuisance = Death for Delhi” that highlights the perils of pollution.
He has formed a free Education and Career Counselling Center for deserving children at a poor J.J. Colony in Dwarka, New Delhi under his NGO – RMN Foundation.
Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development.
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