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School running on DDA land without lease for 5 yrs

School running on DDA land without lease for 5 yrs
It is a norm in Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to cancel a land lease in case there are irregularities and violations detected during the course of allotment. But here is a case where a larger plot of land was given out on second allotment, despite discrepancies with the first one. 

The matter pertains to a land lease to the DAV Centenary Public School at Outram Lines in Kingsway Camp area in which the lease was cancelled about five years back but the DDA has not taken its possession yet and the school continues to run from the area.

As per the lease deed between DDA and the DAV Centenary in 1997, the housing development authority had granted permission to run a nursery school on about 880.86 square metre land with an annual rent of Rs 8 lakh. But instead of running a nursery school, the DAV has come up with a higher secondary facility. 

Surprisingly, in 2001, DDA allotted another piece of land to the same allottee in Model Town in lieu of its undertaking and therefore the school started working from the new place in the same year. As the DDA had allotted an alternative site in lieu of its undertaking, the earlier allotted plot was to be surrendered with immediate effect. When complaints were made in this regard and voices raised, the school authority moved the Delhi High Court but failed to get a decision in its favour.

Now, the situation is such that this ‘arrangement’ has run into several crores of rupees and the officials at the DDA headquarters in Vikas Sadan are absolutely tight-lipped. But what is interesting is the fact that they have not denied such an act. 

As the matter came into the open, the DDA field staff inspected the site and later in 2009, the allotment of the land was cancelled. The school authority was asked to surrender the land immediately. But instead of surrendering the land and complying to the order, DAV Nursery School was opened on this very land. The complainant, who had approached the DDA and Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of Delhi, for not taking possession of the land even after cancellation of the lease, claimed that action has not been taken due to the stature of the school authority which is not in public interest. 

‘The officials of the Delhi government as well as DDA are conniving with the school authority in not taking any action for the recovery of land in public interest and even orders are not being issued to disconnect water and power connections. The DDA must seal the school building and charge rent as per commercial rates,’ said the applicant.

When contacted over phone, the school authority said they had applied for fresh lease. However, they have failed to react on how the school is working on government land without having a fresh allotment letter. 

‘Currently, we are running a nursery school according to the previous lease deed,’ said an official of the school. 

Meanwhile, the school has also failed to provide related documents to substantiated such claims. The DDA officials, however, accepted that the school is violating all norms but refused to render any official comment in regard to the matter. 

‘It’s true that several schools are running in the national Capital even after cancellation of land allotments and the case of DAV Outram Lines is also in it but it is not possible to comment regarding a particular case. Once we check the entire details, we will be able to officially comment on the issue,’ said a senior official of the DDA, not wishing to be named.
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