Dehra Dun : If there is an office that has become synonymous with corruption, it is the Mussoorie Dehra Development Authority (MDDA). Though CCTV cameras have been installed on the various floors of the building, the staff is well aware of them and all cash that changes hands is done outside so that there is nothing on camera.
It would not be wrong here to say that the department has been in the news for all wrong reasons and the very concept for which it had been formed have not taken roots. It was given the responsibility of sanctioning maps for construction of new buildings, but either illegal constructions were given the nod, or those intend to construct houses were made to run from pillar to post.
But while forming the authority, it was planned that it would become the medium for providing cheap and good houses to the masses by undertaking construction of flats and houses. It was also hoped that the city would have planned development and the illegal colonies that were mushrooming up would come to a stop.
Sadly neither of the two has happened. The Authority has yet to undertake the construction of flats or houses for the low or middle income groups in the city and the mushrooming of illegal colonies has only increased manifold. In fact illegal colonies that are coming up do not hesitate to put up boards saying that they are approved by the MDDA, when they are actually not.
Officials of the Authority are either too busy doing things like whiling their time at the office, or running after people to harass them unnecessarily, but they do not have time to look into the large number of illegal constrictions that are coming up, or plots that are being illegally carved out in unauthorised colonies.
To sample its working, then chief minister Uttarakhand gave the nod for construction of residential flats near the ISBT here in Feb 2011, but more than two years have passed the 700 flats have yet to come up. In fact a visitor to the site just sees a flat piece of land, with even the plinth not laid down, as it was the day the announcement was made.
The Authority has not even one project that it can say it has completed in its 12 years of existence, though it does list a number of ambitious projects that are on the anvil. When will they see the light of day, if at all, is the question that the people of the city who are fed up with the whims and egos of its officers, are asking.
There is open talk now that the state government should wind up the Authority and give its working of constructing flats and widening the crossings of the city to either the PWD or a private party, so that the works will at least be constructed in time. As of now the Authority has become a nightmare for the people due to the rampant corruption and negative attitude of working.
A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand).
Jagdish had worked with India’s leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards
Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.