GURUGRAM: For residents of DLF-3, one of the oldest licensed colonies in the city, the fight is for basic amenities, and one they have been fighting since years.
“We are fighting a big battle against local mafias who have money and muscle power. They have converted the residential colony into a hub of illegal PGs and guesthouses. Be it water, electricity, guesthouses, paying guest (PG) accommodations, shops or markets — they are the ones who run the colony,” said Sameer Puri, president of DLF-3 Voice.
In 1981, DLF got a licence on a 1,450-acre land for setting up three colonies — DLF-1, 2 and 3. The maximum number of 60 sq yard plots fell under DLF-3 and these were meant for the economically weaker section (EWS) category. The plots were mostly given to locals in exchange for land and also bought by locals in many cases.
According to a resident, the cost of a 60 sq yard plot was between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh back in the late 90s. Between 2000 and 2008, many MNCs set up their offices in Gurugram, more than half of which were in DLF-3. The cost of these plots has touched Rs 1 crore now, and they are mostly bought for commercial activities, he said.
“The locals saw it as an opportunity and constructed PG accommodations and guesthouses in the hope of making quick money. Unfortunately for residents, this led to a spike in illegal and unauthorised construction in many places and today, a few blocks of DLF-3 seem like slums,” he said.
Nearly 1,750 structures in DLF-3 have violated building norms in the form of illegal construction or misuse of the building as commercial property, Puri said. “The DTCP action has revived hope. I wish it will continue till the menace is brought to an end,” he said.
Almost all the owners of the 60 sq yard plots in the colony, particularly in U block, have constructed buildings with up to six floors, in complete violation of norms. Most of the occupants are young professionals employed with firms in Cyber Hub, Golf Course Road and MG Road and find these accommodations affordable and close to their workplace.
Another resident told TOI that the illegal construction was destroying the civic infrastructure in the area, which has not been developed to cater to the needs of so many people. To meet the water demands of those living on illegal floors, plot owners have been exploiting the groundwater, he said.
“The electricity load per plot is over 12KV, which is not allowed as per the rules. In case of any natural calamity like an earthquake, these illegal multi-storey buildings will collapse and lead to major loss of life and property,” he added.
As per rules, only two-and-a-half-storey houses can be constructed with 60% ground coverage on any given plot. But in DLF-3, plot owners have constructed more than five- to seven-storey buildings with 100% ground coverage.
DLF technical head Sekhar Basu said the developer had been raising the issue with the concerned authorities for many years. “It is good that some action has been taken. We will keep following it up with the department,” he said.
District town planner RS Batth admitted that the buildings are not safe. “People need to understand that living in these structures is extremely unsafe,” he said.