Stop Constructing The Mega Mall in South Delhi #NoMall
I have joined a campaign to stop construction of a Mega Mall in Alaknanda (South Delhi), the community land was sold by the Delhi Development Authority to a corporate which plans to build a 7 lakh square foot mall in Alaknanda. 1. A large piece of land earmarked for the Community Centre in the Alaknanda area of South Delhi,...
Stop Constructing The Mega Mall in South Delhi #NoMall
I have joined a campaign to stop construction of a Mega Mall in Alaknanda (South Delhi), the community land was sold by the Delhi Development Authority to a corporate which plans to build a 7 lakh square foot mall in Alaknanda. 1. A large piece of land earmarked for the Community Centre in the Alaknanda area of South Delhi, was cleared of long standing ‘jhuggi’ clusters in 2002 after many years of efforts by the local residents. This is a matter of record.
At the time of removal of this encroachment on community centre land the residents had been categorically assured that this land so vacated, would be used by the DDA to provide a better life to the community by way of parks for senior citizens/children, and sports and recreational facilities The residents were promised the same time and again
2. We were surprised of late, to see a commercial building of Muthoot Finance come up in this area and another construction by the same group is on. Not with-standing this, a very large chunk of vacant land, however, remained vacant, undeveloped and unutilised, and nothing to the contrary was ever indicated that it will be utilised for the purpose for which it was earlier earmarked and promised.
3. However, it was a great surprise to us, the residents, when it came to our knowledge recently that the DDA has approved construction of a large Mall of an area of 7, 24,000 sq. feet along with a provision of parking approximately 1000 cars and about 700 two wheelers.
We have noticed large and high metal boards fortifying and concealing this piece of land and another adjacent piece in this area being walled. We are given to understand, that this land was auctioned in 2007 by the DDA and that the Ministry of Environment & Forests have given clearance for this Project.
4. We are thus surprised that neither the DDA nor the concerned Ministry cared to consult with the local residents or their RWA in a substantive manner on this all important issue affecting the lives of our family elders, children and other residents. This is particularly troubling when for years the residents of this area were assured that the land was ear marked for developing a community centre and facilities for the residents of the neighbouring areas. That DDA and the concerned ministries have, in effect, appropriated land for the use of residents for a commercial purpose while sacrificing public interest is a matter of great concern and requires examination by your office.
5. We believe that a thorough examination of the norms will show that this just cannot be an appropriate location for a large mall or commercial complex. The safety and health ramifications on the thousands of senior citizens and children in the area will be substantial. International norms confirm that large shopping malls in the midst of a residential neighbourhood are ill advised. A shopping mall of this size is meant to service city level population and not utilizing land surrounded on all sides by residential neighbourhoods militates against good sense and our right to live peacefully.
Apart from the fact that the land meant for community use could not have been sold for a commercial purpose in such a surreptitious manner, the very idea of constructing a mega mall (one of the largest in Delhi) right in the midst of a neighbourhood raises several questions which have clearly not been considered by the concerned authorities. We therefore, draw your kind attention to the significant adverse effects of a project of this scale and magnitude being implemented in this particular area.
Large scale construction: and the consequent pollution with noise, particulate matter and persistent heavy vehicle movement will become a source of disease particularly for senior citizens and children alike. 24X7 activity will shatter the tranquillity of our peaceful neighbourhood.
The Noise pollution constantly from all types of vehicles, truck engines and power horns will make it impossible to find peace. The decibel levels will be hazardous and a large number of senior citizens living in the colony will be severely affected.
Traffic: The existing traffic conditions in the area is already very grim as the roads passing through G.K.II and C.R. Park are being used as feeder roads for the commuters to go to Faridabad and Badarpur area. It is surprising that the authorities have taken no note of the same as neither the Traffic Police nor the authorities responsible for the monitoring and protection of the environment have any data to ascertain the ground reality of the area.
The entry and exit points to the CR Park, GK II, Alaknanda and DDA flats area are perennially jammed and pose a serious hazard in case of a disaster, where people will not be able to exit nor will rescue/paramedic teams gain entry to rescue and evacuate affected individuals. The choke points at Savitri cinema, CR Park arterial road, Tara apartments- Govindpuri and DDA flats are well known. The internal traffic in the area is already heavy with 6-7 schools and several commercial areas in these neighbourhoods.
All autos, buses, commercial & private vehicles plying/using this road will further increase the density beyond their capacity. To cite an example, the traffic entering and leaving from Savitri cinema side barely crawls at peak hours. The road connecting W block GK II to Tara apartments is blocked daily due to heavy traffic. Visitors and shoppers to this Mall will park on the road or block traffic on account of pick up/drops. Some people will be tempted to drive into our Colony to take up internal parking spaces; a live problem which we are facing presently.
Our concerns raised with the traffic department and the National Disaster Management Authority have elicited no satisfactory or cogent response.
Public transport: Malls are frequented by many workers who need public transport, either bus frequency will need to increase and autos and 2 wheelers will increase in numbers. Further private transport, chartered buses, autos, cars and motorbikes will start choke the neighbourhood roads and increase pollution in a residential neighbourhood.
Pollution: Malls have a massive carbon footprint. Moreover, most malls require very large generators to handle the peak load and blackouts. These are all diesel burning entities. Along with the Carbon monoxide emissions from vehicles, the air quality will totally deteriorate. The impact of construction will release tonnes of dust and particulate matter into the vicinity including burdening the sanitary environment with the massive influx of construction workers.
Water & Sewage disposal: Malls require a lot of water for upkeep, cleaning, aesthetics and cooling. The proposed mall will either get its water supply from DJB or draw water from underground sources - probably both. Currently, some colonies are receiving water from underground sources as well. We have successfully put into place rainwater harvesting plants to improve the condition of the water table in this area for our own use – not for large commercial water guzzling malls which will destroy our subsoil environment including water tables will thus get degraded. The additional load on an already burdened sewage disposal system, which is already choked in our Colony and other neighbourhoods, will be further compromised, causing untold misery and ‘kharcha’ to residents.
One cannot loose sight of the fact that the existing infrastructure is barely sufficient to meet the disposal of the existing municipal solid waste and sewage of the area. The added waste and sewage from the Mall would surely adversely affect the sewage infrastructure of the area and the local residents will have to suffer for the same.
Given the existent levels of very low quality of services by civic authorities, this additional burden will make it very difficult for ordinary residents to cope with difficulty since big Malls will be able to draw the civic agencies to perform for them instead of ordinary powerless residents.
Safety for Women: This is a sensitive topic and we have to bring it up. We need not describe the problem in detail - but kindly note that the near proximity of Shopping Malls to residential areas with their late night pubs therein and large numbers of visitors, affect residential areas in a negative manner in matters of crime. The point is that the vicinity of malls is an attractive collection point for drunken and lumpen elements. It also allows people to just come into the area and loiter about the place. Visitors can easily walk in and out of our colonies. Unfamiliar elements coming to this proposed Mall will pose a grave threat to our young girls and ladies who sit peacefully in the parks inside our Colony or walk to local markets for daily purchases.
The additional burden on an inefficient law and order machinery has not been considered.
Affect on Schools: The area has 5-6 schools in the immediate vicinity and children have inadequate playing fields in their respective residential colonies. The affect of a large mall with pubs etc will have a negative impact on the mind set of children who will be drawn towards the glitter to their own disadvantage.
It is a matter of fact that the area around the plot on which the Mall is proposed to be constructed has more than 10 local shopping and commercial centers constructed by DDA and others which are replete with restaurants serving a variety of cuisine, markets & cineplex .No community purpose will be achieved by a Mall in the area. Indeed the peace and safety of the community will be compromised.
We are thus appalled, that, the DDA has even considered and allowed this plan to reach this stage in the most surreptitious and clandestine manner. Nowhere else in the entire city has such a large mall been allowed to come up in the midst of a residential area.
We also suspect that other remaining open land in this area will be similarly mis-appropriated by vested interests.
We repose faith in you, request you and urge you to immediately intervene in this matter to protect the interests of us residents who will be made totally miserable in the event of a Mall destroying our way of life, our environment and our safety.
We urge you to please, assure us that this ill conceived plan will be abandoned forthwith and the lands meant for the local community will be developed in an environment friendly manner for sports, recreation and suchlike purposes that will contribute to human development indices in our community. This was the assurance which was given to us for decades and it is deeply troubling that land ear marked for public use has been sold to a private company for commercial gain to the detriment of thousands of residents in this area.
Looking forward to you early action,