Delhi HC raps DDA for non-action on making integrated freight corridor operational

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New Delhi | Published: June 7, 2018 4:46:06 PM

The Delhi High Court has pulled up DDA for its "complete lack of action" on making operational the Integrated Freight Corridor (IFC) project, which was initiated at Narela here in 1980, and termed the land development authority's conduct "appalling".

Delhi High Court, DDA, integrated freight corridor, Delhi Jal Board,  Inter State Bus Terminal, PESOThe purpose of the IFC was to act as a centre for off-loading and picking up wholesale goods by road and rail from and to other states to decongest the national capital. (PTI)

The Delhi High Court has pulled up DDA for its “complete lack of action” on making operational the Integrated Freight Corridor (IFC) project, which was initiated at Narela here in 1980, and termed the land development authority’s conduct “appalling”. The purpose of the IFC was to act as a centre for off-loading and picking up wholesale goods by road and rail from and to other states to decongest the national capital. A bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, said that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) allotted land at the IFC to various authorities and persons and thereafter “slept over the matter” without ensuring implementation of court orders to shift there the trade of chemicals and dangerous explosives.

The bench said it was doubtful whether the DDA has submitted plans and taken approval from the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for sewage systems and water supplies and also noted the contention of the transport department that land allotted to it has been encroached upon. It also observed that no steps had been taken by the DDA on a 2007 letter by the Delhi Fire Service to shift the proposed fire station to another location, resulting in no such facility being available for the IFC at present.

“Can you have a chemical and explosives trading area without setting up a fire station,” the court asked the DDA and the fire department, which too has not taken any steps after sending the letter. The bench said that “a project which originally began in September, 1980, has thus not even commenced. This speaks volumes about the apathy of the Delhi Development Authority in the whole matter, it said. The complete lack of any action on the part of the DDA is absolutely “appalling”.

It is also a shocking state of affairs that after having made allotments of the land to different authorities, the DDA has slept over the matter, the bench said. “We are inclined to burden the DDA with exemplary costs for non-action in the matter. However, we are desisting from doing so and are giving the DDA one opportunity to get its act together and ensure that expeditious steps are taken to implement other steps in the matter and to ensure that the IFC is activated at the earliest,” it said.

While making the observations, the court, in its order, also directed the DDA to sort out all issues relating to the approvals of the sewage and the water supply system as well as the setting up of a fire station in the area. The authority was also directed to remove the persons who are encroaching on the land allotted to the transport department for setting up an Inter State Bus Terminal at the IFC.

Directions were also issued by the bench to the chemical traders to ensure they construct their units on the allotted plots by September 30, 2018, the time limit given by DDA. The court also directed the chemical traders to submit safety data sheets, in accordance with the Manufacture, Storage and Importing Hazardous Chemical (MSIHC) Rules of 1989, to the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) — a central government department.

The court issued the directives while hearing a plea by an NGO, Society for Awareness and Development, seeking shifting of the wholesale markets from the walled city to the IFC. The court had earlier pulled up the DDA and the municipal corporation of north Delhi for not ensuring that traders from the walled city shift to the IFC at Narela, even after plots have been alloted for the purpose.

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