Participants ‘unhappy’ with online hearing on MPD-2041

Many complain exercise conducted in ‘hasty manner’, ‘no clarity on time allotted to speak’

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Wednesday conducted its fourth online public hearing on the ‘Draft Master Plan for Delhi-2041 (MPD-2041)’ that touched upon subjects such as public spaces, spatial development framework, heritage and culture.

Some participants complained that “it was held in a very hasty manner” and there was “confusion and ambiguity” regarding the time to speak.

“I have sent objections and suggestions that go up to 500 pages and it will take a while for me to convey the same. All we want is for them (DDA) to explain the time limit given for us to speak. Are they going to decide the future for the next 20 years in five minutes? We need a physical hearing and we have given a letter for the same to every person on the board of enquiry. What is the rush to finish these hearings right away?” said Vishal Ohri, general secretary, LSC Federation of Delhi, a traders’ body.

The DDA has divided the online hearings into nine parts — between October 18 and November 10. Over 1,400 participants were invited to Wednesday’s hearing to submit their suggestions before the board.

‘Not invited’

Some members of residents welfare associations (RWAs) said they were not invited to the hearing “despite multiple requests”. B.S. Vohra, president of East Delhi RWA, said while he had “managed to attend” the previous hearing on October 25, he received no communication for Wednesday’s meeting. “I had also reached out to the DDA on Twitter in order to attend the meeting, and I was assured that it will be resolved soon, but nothing happened. They (DDA) know that we have good points to raise and may- be they don’t want to discuss the issues with us. Even in the previous meeting, I was given only two minutes to speak,” he said, adding that he had also sent a “detailed email” to the DDA authorities in which he had mentioned his points.

Rajiv Kakria, convener of Save Our City campaign, said he was not invited to the hearings despite several requests and objected to the process being conducted online. “It should be a physical hearing. Save Our City is a collective of RWAs, NGOs and activists with 175 signatories. We have clearly mentioned that each signatory must be invited. There has been no communication from the DDA despite acknowledging that they have read my petitions.”

Responding to the complaints, a DDA official said participants who had applied to attend the hearing were invited according to the schedule.

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