The Delhi Development Authority does not have a consolidated list of properties worth hundreds of crore which were leased out during the British era. This surfaced during a hearing before the Central Information Commission, which has directed the civic and land management body of the national capital to prepare the list within six months. The Old Scheme Branch of the Delhi Development Authority has admitted that there are 6,000-7,000 properties, given on lease during the British era, on which deliberations are going on whether to continue with their lease or take action.
“Such an information was expected to be already available with the DDA considering the fact that planned development of Delhi is one of the primary functions of the DDA under sections 7-11A of the DD Act of 1957,” Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad said. He said it transpired during the course of hearing that officials including the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has indicated his keenness on the subject and directed the DDA and other land management and civic bodies to devise a mechanism of identifying, segregating, tabulating and compiling information about such leases.
The Commission noted that it is impossible to answer the queries because of non availability of any compiled information, as it transpires from the above deliberations and also it is not possible to hold any one PIO as custodian of the information. “The Commission finds that given the circumstances there was no compiled information to furnish and also the information sought was huge and could not have been given in the given period of time,” he said.
Keeping in view that the citizens of the country should have access to information about leased out public properties and drainage of public revenue with respect to the same, the Commission, in exercise of powers conferred under Section 19 (8) of the RTI Act, deems it appropriate to issue guidelines in this regard, he said.
Azad directed the DDA to furnish within three week a response clearly stating the current status of compilation of records with respect to the leases, their lessees, tenure, decision taken after expiry of such leases and the time expected for compilation of tabulation of complete data. He directed the DDA to submit an action taken report by August 2017 and a compilation of data at the end of six months i.e. by November 2017.