For the last few months, seven-year-old Navya Singh “prayed” that she will one day be able to play again at her neighbourhood park in Rohini’s Sector 8, where the Delhi Development Authority had started constructing a community hall. In a court hearing on Friday, the DDA said they will move the upcoming community centre to an alternative site.
The area in question, Hanuman Mandir park, is frequented by residents of pockets A-2 and F-17. Apart from petitioning in the High Court, the Class II student had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save “her park”.
In the status report filed on December 7, the DDA said that after the writ petition was filed, the Principal Commissioner prepared an inspection report with respect to the site and a decision was taken to seek approval for an alternative site for the purpose of the multi-purpose community hall.
“Originally the site was approved by the screening committee. However, subsequent directions of the Vice-Chairman (DDA), an alternative site for construction of the multi-purpose community hall was proposed,” stated the status report.
The matter was then discussed in the screening committee meeting in the chamber of Vice-Chairman DDA, along with its member MLA Vijender Gupta. “As per the decision in the meeting, the site is to be kept and developed as green… Due to emergence of complaints from a few local residents and (since the) matter is under litigation, it is viewed that option 2 (a site 50 metres away from the current one) may be explored for providing multi-purpose community hall and same was agreed upon,” the report said.
On behalf of Navya, her father Dheeraj Singh, a lawyer, had filed a petition stating that it was an example of “poor planning” on part of the DDA as there was another community hall just 50 metres from the proposed site. A bench of acting Chief Justice Geeta Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued a notice to DDA and other bodies to justify why the park was “required”. The bench added that parks were not meant to be converted into community halls.
After the DDA’s announcements, Singh said, “Navya always asked me for updates on the court hearing. I told her we won. She screamed with joy… The DDA had put barricades in the park; the court has now asked that the park be restored to its original shape.”