How Delhi Development Authority (DDA) offered housing to Delhi’s aspiring middle-class

In the mid-1970s when Reena Ramachandran (81) was working in the Ministry of Science and Technology in the government of India, she came across an advertisement brochure of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) announcing its first self-financing group housing scheme in Saket. The area was nothing more than large swathes of agricultural land at the time, and far away from Sardar Patel Marg, where she was living with her husband, who worked for the Railways department. But the scheme, said Ramachandran, was a great investment opportunity for “people like her”.

“My husband and I were both government employees with limited means. It was difficult to buy land and build a house of your own in a city as expensive as Delhi,” she explained. “The DDA scheme was within our reach to pay in installments and we would not have to deal with any builder. The DDA itself was the builder.” The fact that the house would be in a housing colony with security and all amenities were factors that influenced her decision.

How Delhi Development Authority

The DDA had been functioning for two decades by then. It was established in 1957 in the wake of the Partition by the central government to ensure the planned expansion and development of Delhi. The predecessor of the DDA, the Delhi Improvement Trust (DIT), was established in 1941 on the recommendation of Arthur Parke Hume to manage urban congestion in the city following the shift of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. Less than a decade later, the DIT was considered inadequate in its capacity to take care of a capital that was expanding both rapidly and haphazardly.

“Post-Independence, the first residential colonies of Delhi were built by the Ministry of Rehabilitation and some private developers in the 1950s. But development taking place was of an ad hoc nature and no one was responsible for providing road connectivity, infrastructure services like water, electricity and the like. Very often, a house would be built but the residents would have to wait for five to ten years to get electricity and water connections,” said A K Jain (74), who retired as commissioner of planning from the DDA. “Jawaharlal Nehru, being unhappy with the situation, believed that the capital needed to set an example of urban development.”

Political scientist Sushmita Pati in a 2014 research paper noted that Nehru’s idea of development hinged on the idea of a strong centre. Consequently, “the DDA act of 1957, under which the DDA was set up, makes the public authority responsible for the acquisition of land and development of the city”.

Nehru’s involvement in the making of the first master plan of Delhi (1962) under the DDA was significant. It was on his insistence that Albert Mayer of the Ford Foundation was brought in to prepare the plan along with the Town Planning Organisation.

Political scientist Sushmita Pati in a 2014 research paper noted that Nehru’s idea of development hinged on the idea of a strong centre. (Adrija Roychowdhury)

Jagmohan, who became the commissioner of the DDA in the mid 1960s, was instrumental in the execution of the master plan. Pati in her paper wrote that Jagmohan believed that with the master plan, “the DDA took upon itself the project of building the ‘ninth city’ of Delhi which was twice the size of all seven cities that had come before”. Apart from the city of Delhi, small towns and villages surrounding it were to be developed as the National Capital Region (NCR).

Initially, the DDA was provided Rs 5 crore with which it bought land from the agricultural communities, beautified it and sold it according to income groups or commercial agencies at a profit, which they later used to buy land again.

“The plan aligned with Nehru’s socialist ideologies and prevented private players from land speculation,” said Jain.


नोट :- हमारे वेबसाइट पर ऐसी जानकारी रोजाना आती रहती है, तो आप ऐसी ही सरकारी योजनाओं की जानकारी पाने के लिए हमारे वेबसाइट से जुड़े रहे।