Life-threatening Environmental Hazard at DPS Housing Society in Delhi

DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society in Dwarka, New Delhi
DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society in Dwarka, New Delhi

If the government could control extreme financial and environmental irregularities at DPS Housing Society, it will be easier for the government to discipline other societies.

By Rakesh Raman

Commitment of the Indian Government

– At the conclusion of the Paris Climate Change Conference called COP21, India’s Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi had said that climate justice has won.

– Later, in September 2016, the Union Cabinet of India chaired by Mr. Modi had given its approval to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

– In February 2017, the Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and the Minister of State for Environment Anil Madhav Dave flagged off the Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS) to reach out to more than 600,000 villages in India to spread awareness about the climate change issues.

– Recalling the Prime Minister Modi’s desire to make the country proud in the global arena, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave also said in March 2017 that the government will never compromise the environmental interests of India at international negotiations.

– Similarly, Dr. Jitendra Singh, a minister in the PM Office, has expressed the idea that every Indian citizen has a right to clean air.

– The Delhi government also has a commitment with the people of Delhi to weed out corruption from government offices and also ensure environmental protection.

– India’s constitutional provision of Article 21 assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.

Effect of Air Pollution on Climate Change

With all these commitments, our government has pledged to protect the environment to minimize the harmful effects of changing climate on humans and other living beings.

Top researchers show that there are interlinkages between greenhouse gases, climate change and air quality. Many air pollutants that are harmful to human health and ecosystems also contribute to climate change.

Apart from vehicular pollution, there are damaging thermal effects of dust on climate. Research reveals that dust-related atmospheric aerosol pollution has a hazardous effect on climate.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) of India has observed that one of the major sources of air pollution is dust emission from construction activities, which must be stopped to avoid pollution-related diseases and deaths.

But since most Indian citizens and government officials lack understanding of the climate change subject and its linkages with air and dust pollution, they are hell-bent to destroy the environment with a blatant disregard to Indian government’s environmental policies and its commitments to the global community.

Environmental Risks at DPS Housing Society

In order to understand this disturbing issue, we will focus our discussion on the group housing societies in Delhi – and particularly the DPS Cooperative Group Housing Society in Sector 4, Dwarka, New Delhi.

You can safely assume that if the government could control extreme financial and environmental irregularities at DPS Housing Society, it will be easier for the government to discipline other societies.

The successive Managing Committees* (MCs) at DPS Housing Society have unleashed an aggressive onslaught to start a high-value extended construction project, which will be extremely harmful for the people – men, women, children – and their property.

In its letter dated March 5, 2017, the new MC has once again expressed its wicked desire to initiate an extended construction project.

With an utter disregard to the cooperative culture, the MC has completely ignored a recent letter (with Subject: Harmful Construction Project) from other residents who have warned the MC that the additional construction can cause serious damage to life and property. [Click here to read the letter. ]

The residents advised the MC not to think about the construction project because with noise and dust pollution, it will bring disaster for the residents who are living in the Society. This is important particularly when the government is taking various steps to control the level of pollution in and around Delhi.

Moreover, no activity can be legal if it poses a risk to even one person’s life. The truth is that the proposed construction will put to risk the lives of hundreds of people living in the DPS Housing Society besides causing damage to the property.

Will the Majority Kill People?

The MCs at DPS Housing Society offer an invalid argument that if majority in the Society supports massive construction decision, the other residents will have to accept it.

How is that possible? If the decision of the majority of members is driven by greed and not by need, it cannot be imposed on others who want to live peacefully in a harmless environment.

Adding more rooms to existing rooms in a flat cannot be a need – particularly when most residents have very small families. It will also widen the rich-poor gap in a country where millions of people are still homeless and some rich are making more rooms which they do not need.

The majority argument is meaningless. By this weird logic, if majority of the members say that they should kill others, will the MC kill the innocent people? The majority rule cannot apply in such cases where even one person’s life is at risk.

The decision for harmful construction of the DPS Housing Society MC can be construed as an attempt to murder, as the construction-related pollution and disturbance can kill innocent human beings.

The different MCs at DPS Housing Society also have been saying that the government rules allow such extended construction – which, in fact, are environmentally hazardous and will harm the health and lives of people living in the Society. This is an absurd assertion because no government in the world can make any rule that is aimed to kill its own citizens.

Fraudulent Acts

The fraudulent acts of the MCs at DPS Housing Society can also be seen from the fact that they have arranged some kind of structural health report from a couple of firms to hoodwink the residents in order to carry out the harmful repair / construction project.

The appointment of the so-called engineer / architecture was done in a totally dishonest manner by the MCs without following any procurement rules and making them transparent.

According to a letter circulated in March 2017, the new MC suddenly revealed the firms’ names as M/s Vivek & Arti Architects and Spline Engineers & Consultant Pvt Ltd.

Who had appointed them, how were they appointed, what kind of deal was made with them? The MC did not bother to inform the residents beforehand. This is a clear case of willful deceit on the part of the MC, as it is handling and spending public money secretly.

The government must also investigate the people in these firms to know if there is a fraudulent collusion between the MCs of DPS Housing Society and these firms.

Even one member who is paying money can question MC’s financial and administrative decision as a consumer of the services. Majority is not required to challenge MC’s criminal acts.

As the MC’s record during the past many years shows that it has squandered public money, the government must stop it from spending any money during the time its suspension is being decided.

So, if some minor repairs are required to be done in the building, the government must monitor the use of Society funds and all the purchase and project details must be made available on a website of the DPS Housing Society. The creation of such a website is compulsory for the Society to ensure financial transparency. [ Click here to read the government notification.]

There are many other purchase and financial irregularities in the DPS Housing Society for which a government inquiry is being sought.

Although the office of Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) of Delhi government had ordered an inquiry in this case under the directions from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) of India, it could not get completed for unknown reasons. [ Click here to read the RCS letter. ]

Now again on March 10, 2017, the office / OSD of Mr. Manish Sisodia (Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi) has directed the RCS of the Delhi government to look into DPS Housing Society case, as I have requested to reopen the CVC-directed inquiry along with the investigation into other cases of financial irregularities.

[ Humanitarian Crisis Persists at DPS Housing Society in Delhi ]

It is expected that instead of sending papers here and there like a post office in order to kill the investigation, the RCS office will immediately suspend the present MC so that the inquiry could be held in a fair, unhindered manner.

Most would know that the RCS office has a long history of corruption and many of its officers have been caught even by the Central Bureau of Investigation. [Click here to read details of CBI cases.]

So, hopefully, RCS office will discharge its duties honestly and immediately suspend the MC before holding a thorough inquiry in the DPS Housing Society case.

Mr. Sisodia’s  Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also has a commitment with the people of Delhi to weed out corruption from government offices and also ensure environmental protection. Therefore, Mr. Sisodia is being requested to suitably advise the RCS office which might once again try to scuttle this case or keep sending letters back and forth to delay the decision to hold an independent inquiry.

Health Hazards of Building Repair and Construction

If construction is allowed in the existing housing societies where people already live, it will hamper the PM Modi-led drive to ensure clean climate in the country. Thus, it will give a bad name to India in the global arena, which will also jeopardize India’s efforts to create a healthy business environment and invite investments into the country.

Similarly, when construction material – such as bricks, sand, and cement – will continue to occupy the housing complex where people – men, women, and children – live, it will cause health hazards to residents in the affected areas. It will also serve a severe blow to the Swachh Bharat Mission of PM Modi.

There is no denying the fact that avoidable building construction around human beings is a wrongful act. It also promotes corruption. Since construction involves huge money which can be easily swindled, it is the root cause of corruption in housing societies such as the DPS Housing Society. So, corruption in the name of construction must be stopped at DPS Housing Society.

The government must also realize that Delhi is already the most polluted city and among the world’s dirtiest cities. If the construction is not stopped in the existing housing societies of Delhi, the city will become a virtual hell for all living beings.

Therefore, if the Delhi government and the Indian government are really concerned about the wellbeing of citizens, they must strictly instruct the MC at DPS Housing Society to stop planning any kind of construction in the building.

[ A separate case is already being pursued with the Delhi government to get the MC of DPS Housing Society suspended because of various irregularities. ]

*DPS Housing Society MC members and their accomplices involved in this case:

Previous MC

M.M. Shukla, Neeraj Vaish, Ms. Geeta Gautam, Ms. Leela Swami, R.K. Saggi, K.L. Narayanan, H.L. Kaul.

Current MC

Neeraj Vaish, R. Bala Subramanian, M.N. Sampath Kumar, Ms. Leela Swami, Sandeep Taneja, Manguraam Tyagi, Ms. Naseem Afshaque.

Others in Shady Committee

Dalip Rozekar, Neeraj Vaish. M.M. Shukla, R. Bala Subramanian, Sandeep Taneja, Lal Singh Thakur.

More names of people and firms will surface during the interrogation of the MC members.

Disclosure: I have written this article not only as a journalist, but also as a victim of the fraud and intimidation happening at DPS Housing Society. I am facing repeated threats from the MC members and their supporters because I am raising my voice against corruption, environmental damage, and human rights violations.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist and runs free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

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