Makeover of DDA flatsIt is always a desire to own your dream home in a metro city like Delhi. With property rates skyrocketing every year, when many people cannot afford to buy a flat in a prime location in Delhi, it is the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) which comes to the help of such people to get their dream home at a rate which is much less than the market rate. For people living in Delhi in rented apartments, owning a DDA flat is always a dream come true.

A brief introduction of DDA

In 1957, under the provisions of the Delhi Development Act, the Delhi Development Authority was formed. The basic objective was to promote and secure the development of Delhi. In 1967, DDA commenced its housing scheme. Since then, the DDA has provided residences of choice for more than 11 million people in the city and this number continues to grow. Not only flats, the DDA is also involved in the overall development of Delhi. DDA is also presently involved in large-scale transformation of the Master Plan of Delhi-2021 to cater to the increasing population and the changing requirements of the city.

Popularity of DDA flats

  • Affordable
  • Superior locations in Delhi
  • Areas well connected to public transport
  • Catering to all income groups, flats are offered in several categories like as Economically Weaker Section (EWS), Low Income Group (LIG), Middle Income Group (MIG), High Income Group (HIG) and Janata.
  • DDA flats are provided with most of the essential services like water supply, electricity, sewage disposal, and other infrastructural facilities.
  • Till Jan 2013, DDA launched 44 housing schemes.

Problems in DDA flats: Some major complaints

It is sad but true that DDA flats are losing their original charm. In fact, in recent years, a number of complaints have been registered by consumers owning DDA flats against the DDA. There are many news reports of faulty construction of DDA flats.

Some owners of flats under DDA’s 2010 and 2011 housing schemes in the apartment blocks – Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati – in Vasant Kunj area in a written complaint to the Lt.-Governor Najeeb Jung in January 2014 said that while the DDA has taken full money for the flats and handed out possession letters, very few families have moved in to these flats. These few families are facing tremendous difficulties in settling themselves in these flats due to never ending problems like cracks being developed in the wall, faulty electrical wiring, damp walls and no water connection.

In another report, under DDA’s 2014 housing scheme, over 10,000 flats in Rohini’s sectors 34 and 35 are facing delays in possession due to the fact that the land was acquired illegally. Even if DDA wins the case in the court, it may still not be able to get the main services like water, electricity and sewerage to the flats because of land dispute.

Some of the major problems affecting allottees

Building and civil works

  • The slopes leading to the entrance of the flats are tilted at the wrong side as a result of which you can see water-logged houses and flooded basements.
  • There has been heavy leaks in the drainage pipes, which have led to flooding in the buildings.
  • Most of the sewer lines are not functional.

Water supply

  • The supply of water in the DDA flats is highly erratic.
  • There is no ground water provision.
  • No proper water supply from the Delhi Jal Board.
  • Severe water shortage
  • Underground tanks are not clean and kept unhygienic.
  • Most of the flush lines are not functional.

Electricity and lifts

  • No lighting in the common areas like the lobbies
  • Lifts are mostly nonfunctional.
  • Lifts in major towers are not constructed.
  • Defective telephone lines
  • Street lights not functional

Houses and furnishings

  • Most owners received their flats in very poor condition like broken tiles, damp walls or cracks in the walls.
  • The houses were not kept locked by DDA officials before handing them to the owners. As such, they became the shelters of stray dogs.
  • Many internal fixtures were damaged.

Basement parking: No parking available for cars in the basement as they remain flooded most of the time due to sewage water.
Safety and security: Last but not the least, there are no boundary walls enclosing the DDA flats and no fire safety norms are in place.

Government’s role

On the basis of news reports and a number of complaints by the residents and owners of DDA flats based in locations like Vasantkunj, Saraswati Vihar, Rohini etc. the Lt Governor directed the Delhi Development Authority officials in January 2014 to focus on the quality of DDA flats so that there are no complaints from the consumers. He also issued notice that there should not be delay in the system of conversion of property from leasehold to freehold.

Major plans by DDA

After repeated complaints and also by the direction given by the Lt.-Governor, DDA is planning a complete makeover of its housing flats. So far, the DDA flats are still following the age-old 50-year old styling pattern of bare minimum and uniform design for all its residential houses. Now, the DDA plans to focus on the consumers’ complaints like poor design, lack of space, poor quality construction.

DDA officials have said that all the new residential and commercial projects would be designed by reputed private architects, designers, engineers and consultants so that they come up with the best possible modern design along with energy-efficient green buildings. Also, the DDA officials would review the living conditions and facilities in the housing complexes of those locations from where complaints have come. It was also mentioned in a press release that all new DDA flats will be highly valuable with time as they can be re-sold at higher market rates.

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