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Delhi Disabilities Commissioner passes important order on industrial plot allotments for people with disabilities

In a significant order that will have far reaching impact, Delhi Disabilities Commissioner T D Dhariyal has ordered that unused vacant industrial plots in the National Capital Region be set aside for allotment to people with disabilities who wish to start their own businesses or production centres or relocate existing ones.

Losing sight at the age of 28 was a setback for Nitin Bindlish, who had a business making moulded rubber parts for tractors and the auto industry. His factory is in Sonepat, Haryana while Nitin lives in Delhi, a commute that became difficult after his disability. He wanted to continue working and requested that a vacant plot in any industrial area in Delhi be allotted to him.

Something that he is entitled to as per the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, that was earlier in force as well as the current Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (RPWD Act).

Section 37 of RPWD Act says appropriate "Government and local authorities are mandated to frame schemes in favour of persons with benchmark disabilities (40% or more disabilities) and provide 5% reservation in allotment of land on concessional rates for various purposes which include setting up of business, enterprise, production units etc". These are mandatory and not implementing them within a reasonable time frame amounts to violating the rights of people with disabilities and is punishable.

The Supreme Court has directed all state governments and union territories to frame schemes such that non compliance is brought to the notice of the concerned Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities.

However, in response to Nitin's request, the Delhi State Industrial & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (DSIIDC) divisional commissioner said that there was no scheme for allotment of industrial plots to any section and that his application would be looked into when such a scheme comes into being.

Nitin then approached the office of T D Dhariyal, Delhi Disabilities Commissioner saying that his repeated requests were not being considered despite the Act and that the government had not framed a policy.

At the hearing the DSIIDC claimed that it functions as an implementing agency only for the relocation of industries working in non-conforming areas of Delhi and had no information as to whether any of the eligible applicants for relocation included any disabled persons and that there was no scheme for preferential allotment of plots at concessional rate under the older Act.

Nitin's counsel argued that since the DSIIDC was also responsible for the development of industries, it was also in charge of framing schemes and should ensure compliance with the laws including the 1995 Act and the recent RPWD Act. Given that there were nine vacant plots lying unused in Narela area, it was unfair to make Nitin run around.

Based on these statements, Mr Dhariyal has passed an important order that brings relief to Nitin and had implications for the community at large. These are to:

  • Earmark unused vacant industrial plots in NCT of Delhi under any scheme for allotment to persons with benchmark disabilities for setting up or relocating their businesses or production centres, etc. through a draw of lots.
  • Nitin may apply in response and be considered along with other eligible applicants with disabilities.
  • The allotment should be made within three months from the date of receipt of this order.
  • The scheme under section 37(c) of the RPwD Act, 2016 be also finalised by DSIIDC and notified within three months from the date of receipt of the order.

Under the older 1995 Act every state government was supposed to give preferential allotment of plots at concessional rates. If the Delhi government is not the landowning authority, then why were they making that scheme? And if they are drafting the scheme under Section 37, they must make the amedndments and come up with one within three months. - T D Dhariyal, Delhi Disabilities Commissioner

Mr Dhariyal says that since the plots are lying vacant and no construction has taken place, they can be given to a person with disability from another state. "You are not earning anything there, no one else's interest is being affected and from a micro point of view, people from Delhi will get employment in these factories", he points out. "The state govt will benefit because more people will get employed".

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