NEW DELHI: Fourteen years ago, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) first announced its in situ slum redevelopment project at Kathputli Colony. Since then, the wait for its residents to receive their promised one-bedroom flats in multi-storey apartments has only got longer.
It was expected that the first batch of around 500 flats in the completed apartment blocks would be handed over by March 31, 2022. The rest of the apartments were expected to be allotted by the end of this year. A total of 2,800 one-bedroom flats are to be allotted to slum dwellers in the redevelopment project.
According to DDA officials, the land development authority is now targeting September 2022 for handing over 720 flats to the first batch of residents and the rest of the flats by July 2023.
The tender enquiry for the colony was floated in 2008, and the work was awarded to a private developer in August 2009. As part of the redevelopment project, 2,800 flats in 14-storeys towers would be given to squatters who were living in the area for nearly 40 years. In place of constructing the EWS houses, the developer would be entitled to build and dispose of some freehold HIG flats and commercial built-up area equivalent to 10% of the EWS floor area ratio on a leasehold basis.
The project has been beset with setbacks and massive delays in every step, starting from surveying the eligible population, relocating all the slum dwellers to a transit camp at Anand Parbat and finally, the ongoing construction.
The foundation stone of the project was laid by Union Housing and Urban Affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri on April 24, 2018. It was announced that the first batch of slum dwellers were expected to be provided flats by March 2019. While the March deadline was missed, DDA hoped to open some towers by December 2019 but that deadline was missed too, with the project facing one roadblock after another, including the work getting affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While relocation of the residents of Kathputli Colony had begun in 2014, all slum dwellers could be moved out only by the end of 2017. Even as the site was finally levelled the following year, power connection to the construction site stopped over pending dues of earlier occupants.
As soon as the issue of the pending bills was sorted, a ban on construction during the winter season again put a halt to work. Apart from this, there were incidents like roads being dug up by another government agency and materials not reaching the site. The project received another setback in 2019 in the shape of a disputed piece of land for which DDA had to go to court.