Speaking to TOI on Friday, Naidu said DDA has been asked to speed up utilization of land at its disposal in keeping with the high priority accorded to housing by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also said participation of the private sector in housing can also be considered.
“I have already given them an indication that they have to take care of the vulnerable section of society. I have asked DDA to understand the mandate set out by the Prime Minister. If we want to provide housing to all by 2022, it must start with Delhi,” Naidu said.
Outlining what he called an inclusive approach, Naidu said planning of new residential colonies will include housing for poor sections of society. “In rural and urban planning, we have to take care of the realities. You cannot make poor stay far away from housing colonies where they have to come for work,” he said.
Focussing on dealing with encroachments, Naidu said he wanted civic agencies to be accountable and ensure rules are followed so that squatting and land grab does not become the daunting problem that it currently is.
“Whether it’s town planner or inspector or whatever you call them, they must be made accountable for any unauthorized development. You allow illegal colonies and constructions to come up for years. Then suddenly one day you bring bulldozers to demolish them. Then councilor comes, MLA comes, minister comes and the number becomes bigger. You are not able to do anything,” Naidu said.
Pointing to the housing challenge with regard to Delhi, Naidu said “I have been informed that Delhi alone has about five lakh people who are shelterless.”
On the politically sensitive issue of unauthorized colonies, Naidu said he had met officials and Delhi MPs on the subject. “We are going to have another round of meetings. I have asked them to come with concrete suggestions. And also place before the meeting the availability of land and unauthorized colonies and regularised colonies,” the minister said.
Naidu said for planning to succeed, the support of the city’s residents was a must. “You can work out anything on paper. The situation is something else on the paper and something different on the ground.”
Elaborating on his view that lack of accountability was the main reason for increasing growth of unauthorized colonies and construction, Naidu said future development must go hand in hand with strict enforcement and these reforms could be linked to central aid.
He said once officials are held responsible and government starts taking action, then they will be extra cautious. Naidu added, “We are now talking that officials concerned must be liable for action, if they fail to act. That’s going to be my thrust area. This will be a part of the reforms that we are planning. If you don’t act to implement the Master Plan, you don’t get financial help from Centre.”