DDA changes norms and layout plan to pave way for Sports Minister Vijay Goel's NGO
The plot was originally reserved for a post office to pave way for an NGO to build a Toy Bank.
What's the story?
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has taken steps to change land norms and its layout plan in order to allow a plot to an NGO that is associated with the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel. According to a report in the Indian Express, it is said that this plot in Delhi, was originally reserved for a post office, which was later allotted to Goels' NGO Vaish Aggarwal Educational Society (VAES) in September 2016 under abnormal circumstances.
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Vijay Goel is said to have harped on gaining the plot of land for his NGO, which was adjacent to a school run by the same. The land was sought by the NGO to set up a toy bank. It was a month later, where DDA urged VAES to apply “on prescribed form”.
There were no results for over a year, however, the following year, in 2015, VAES sent out another letter that was finally acknowledged by DDA Additional Director. DDA officially recorded its application on prescribed form on August 7.
The heart of the matter
Soon after Goel became a member of the Rajya Sabha, the DDA records name Goel as vice-president, his son Siddhant and daughter Vidyun as members of the VAES NGO who hereafter sought the land from the DDA. On 8 August, the screening committee had sanctioned the layout plan modification, where the land was allotted to the NGO on September 1, 2016. It was said to have made a payment of Rs 1.77 crore on October 19, 2016.
According to the Indian Express, the planning Commissioner Sabyasachi Das stated the reason as to why the sports minister's plea was given preference. He was quoted as saying that post offices are becoming obsolete and now serve only as savings outlets.
The Secretary General of the VAES, Sandeep Garg, stated in the report that Goel is being dragged into the matter unnecessarily and that he has not been actively involved with the organization. However, his name does feature in the application from 2015, which makes the statement questionable.
The Toy Bank according to the NGO collects unused and used toys from various sources, restores them and then distributes them amongst the needy children. This non-profit organisation has recycled over 500,000 toys for the past 15 years.
It remains to be seen how the minister responds in this matter and what clarifications he will put forward.
Despite the generous and social cause as the underlying reason for the change in the allotment, one cannot help but wonder why the NGO was seeking a plot that was already marked for government use.