Action for ‘substandard’ work causes beneficiaries of slum rehabilitation projects to worry about future homes
Days after the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) suspended two of its assistant engineers for “substandard” work on the urban agency’s in-situ slum rehabilitation project at Kalkaji Extension, residents of Bhoomiheen Camp (JJ Cluster), which are flats have gotten into the project, continue to worry about the quality of their future homes. According to a senior DDA official and other sources, the suspensions came to Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena after he inspected the site on June 11. Sources said the LG felt the work in the flats was “subpar and incomplete”. †
The news of the suspensions and the “substandard” quality of the flats has left the residents of the JJ cluster confused about what to do next. Sapan Shah, 59, a beneficiary of the slum rehabilitation project, said the recent developments had allayed his excitement about moving into the newly built houses. While several allottees told The Hindu they’ve waited too long and would accept whatever comes their way, some beneficiaries said they would reconsider withdrawing.
“They should have looked at the quality of the houses beforehand or at least during the planning phase. Now, the time has passed. We pay for these homes out of our pocket. We don’t have a choice, no; we have to adapt to what we get,” said Mr. Shah, who has lived in the JJ cluster since 1982. Parimal Mandal, a resident who runs a small shop in the camp, shares a similar view, saying that since 2011, when the project was first conceived, the families in the JJ cluster have undergone multiple surveys to prove that they are eligible and more than 50% of them have received allocation letters to date.
₹1.42 lakh per apartment
As part of the project, the DDA has built 3,024 flats – each with two rooms, a laundry room, a kitchen, and a balcony – for just over 2,800 households in the JJ cluster. According to the DDA, the flats will be allocated on payment of 1.42,000 per resident, including ₹30,000 as maintenance costs for five years. In February, the DDA held the first drawing of lots in which parcel letters were issued to 673 households. Last week, the DDA had a second draw for 903 eligible families.
At the project site, visited by The Hindu, broken windows and incomplete fittings were observed outside multiple flats measuring just over 25 square meters. In contrast, the interior of a sample flat was complete and intact. “One must understand that the people who live here [Bhoomiheen] camp are hesitant and economically weak. Such developments are of great concern. For them, it’s about having good housing, and they are now afraid that they will face more problems after moving to the flats,” said one resident who doubts paying for the flat.
Responding to concerns from residents of the JJ cluster, the senior DDA official denied the work was substandard and said beneficiaries were misled by build quality rumors. Regarding the incomplete fittings, the official said only a few flats had yet to be installed. “During the LG’s visit, he inspected the steel plate and was very pleased. Inspecting the other flats, he noted that some fixtures, such as switches and other amenities, were not installed. The officials tried to explain that they would be installed as soon as the houses were assigned, but the LG was not happy with the condition of the flats,” the official said.
All beneficiaries of the JJ cluster will be self-assigned to the flats his year, the official said, adding that the project is likely to be inaugurated by a Union government dignitary. “We will start issuing the property letters next week, and we have also reduced the paperwork for the beneficiaries to avoid any hassle. Once they make the payment, leave their homes in theslumu,m and get a demolition bill, the entire cluster willbe removede,d andthe DDA will use the land,” the official said.