DDA’s New Boss and His Top 5 Plans

January 2014, we were at the Delhi Development Authority’s headquarters, eagerly waiting to hear what the newly inducted Vice Chairman Balvinder Kumar had to say. Cut to September 2015, we are in the same conference room, the usual plate of sarkari snacks giving us company, and we are waiting for the media-debut of another Vice Chairman. Punjab-cadre IAS officer Arun Goel, took over as the Vice Chairman of DDA on 31st July, 2015. He comes with experience of working in the Ministry of Urban Development among other state and central postings. A month into the DDA’s hot seat, Goel took his trial by fire with the press today. Refusing to hold one on one interactions, Goel instead went for an informal round-table discussion about his technology revamp of a corruption-ridden DDA.

1. DDA’s babus to be monitored by Mobile Apps:

(a) Mobile App for Construction Quality:
Allottees under DDA’s Housing Scheme can pull up the authority over their construction quality and state of amenities by posting on the app. The contractor’s security deposit will be linked to the performance feedback DDA will receive.

(b) Mobile App for Roads & Flyovers:
Citizens can take DDA to task on a dedicated mobile app that will take complaints about damaged roads and flyovers.

(c) Mobile App to monitor expenditure of Public Money:
DDA’s engineers at site will use a mobile app to enter how much material has been used for what extent of progress. This will ensure no pilferage of public money.

(d) Mobile App for DDA-built colonies:
Public can post their feedback on the state of DDA’s community halls across Delhi on issues of maintenance.

2. Leasehold to Freehold Conversion made Speedy:
Admitting that his staff is under tremendous pressure with the huge backlog of applications, the new Vice Chairman has decided to scrap a number of unnecessary documents that are needed to process conversion of leasehold properties into freehold.

(a) Undertakings, affidavits will be clubbed into one document.
(b) Copies of Possession letter & Demand-cum-allotment letter scrapped.
(c) Address proof of applicant living in a house other than the property being converted no longer required.
(d) No-dues Certificates from societies not needed. DDA to seek six-monthly statements of defaulters to keep a tab.

3. FIFO for First in First Out:
DDA’s new Vice Chairman has kicked off Fifo or First in First out across departments, giving them a maximum time-cap of 10 days to resolve public grievances. Emphasis is on bringing in transparency in departments of housing, lease administration, land disposal and accounts.

4. Ladies in Delhi, DDA’s new boss wants ‘Equality of Public Toilets’ for you:
For those of you wondering why this is relevant, the DDA is revising the city’s building byelaws which date back to 1983. Turns out Delhi’s dismal record on women-friendly urban infrastructure stems from its building norms. The byelaws for buildings and the National Building Code 2005 calls for a 60 Male: 40 Female ratio for public toilets. The DDA is looking to flush down these archaic norms and bring in a 50:50 ratio of public toilets in Cinema Halls, Hospitals, Shops, Commercial Offices and restaurants. All new developments will have to adhere to this.

5. DDA’s unused lands to turn playfields:
DDA’s significant land bank in Delhi is often encroached upon or turned into an open dump yard till the time the DDA decides a use for it. The new Vice Chairman has a smart plan to maintain these pockets of land. Level, grass and fence these vacant lands and let poor children use them as playfields. The children serve as de facto watchmen. And the DDA in turn will provide them equipment and coaches to play sports.

Vasudha Sharma, Anchor & Correspondent- The Property Show


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