Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) today submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court seeking an amendment to the Delhi Master Plan 2021 to address the problem of sealing drive in the national capital.
Puri also rejected demands for bringing in an ordinance to stop the sealing drive, asking how an ordinance could be brought while a Parliament session was underway.
He said the Master Plan was a legal document which provided the opportunity and the possibility for an amendment and the DDA had the right to carry out its statutory function and amend the Master Plan.
“The DDA’s proposed modification in the Master Plan was in exercise of its statutory duty and by following due and prescribed procedure of law,” he said while addressing a conference here.
As part of the affidavit, he said the DDA had prepared its response to nine issues raised by the amicus curiae that included those related to environment, congestion, traffic, safety measures, civic amenities and parking.
He said the DDA had submitted that the modification in the Master Plan would have only minimal effect over the environment and other existing facilities.
LG Anil Baijal, who was also present on the occasion, said at present, the sealing drive was being undertaken only in respect to those commercial establishments which have come up in stilts mandatorily required for parking spaces, areas where unauthorised construction had taken place and areas government-owned and reserved forest land had been encroached upon.
Senior AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj, however, accused the LG of “revealing the BJP’s intentions behind the sealing drive”. He did not elaborate on the what he meant though.
“Anil Baijal’s intention is the BJP’s intention,” Bharadwaj said, claiming that the LG had asserted that the sealing drive was undertaken against the people doing wrong and “it would continue despite his claims” of having a solution to the problem.
However, a HUA ministry spokesperson later refuted the charges and said Baijal had said that the current actions were being undertaken by the local bodies as per the directions of the Monitoring Committee appointed by the Supreme Court.
The spokesperson said Baijal had only elaborated on the areas where the sealing action was being undertaken.
Meanwhile, Puri also criticised the incidents of violence taking place against the backdrop of the sealing drive and said the proposed amendments in Master Plan were in favour of traders.
He also held responsible the previous governments in Delhi and at the Centre for not taking steps against the violations of the Master Plan which, he said, had resulted in the present problem.