New Delhi, June 2 : Days after IANS highlighted the Delhi Development Authority's (DDA) discriminatory guidelines -- barring persons above 65 years, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years on its sport complexes and golf courses (Qutab Golf Course and Bhalswa Golf Course) -- the authority agreed to replace "not permitted" with "advised" not to enter.
These guidelines defied the directions issued by the government, where it merely advised people over 65 years from not to visit sport complexes/golf courses, but never barred them.
IANS queried the DDA, about its guidelines run contrary to the government's orders, and this is causing inconvenience to many members who seek to use its properties after staying inside homes due to the over two month long lockdown. Senior officials at the DDA initially insisted that the guidelines were aligned with government directive, and there was nothing wrong.
However, later, a senior official from the DDA's Vice Chairman office, reached out to IANS and confirmed that they will change these guidelines.
"If it is causing problems to the people, then we will change the guidelines. We will amend the guidelines and notify it latest by tomorrow. We will replace not permitted with advised not to enter," said the official.
Responding to a query on the access of elderly on the club premises, the Delhi Golf Club President R.S. Bedi said: "We have asked people (65 years plus) to follow government guidelines." Bedi insisted that the club is not an enforcer, and can only advise people.
On May 20, the DDA decided to open its sports complexes and golf courses from May 21 with strict adherence to social distancing norms and restrictions in compliance with the government guidelines. It has said it will not allow persons above 65 years of age, children below 10 years of age and persons with co-morbidity, and suffering from chronic disease to enter sports complexes and golf courses.
To the point that the DDA is still following the old practice, whereas the new curfew timing is 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., the official said: "We will look into and comply with government's direction." Many people have complained that the DDA was denying people access to the sports complexes and the Qutab Golf Course, yet were happily charging monthly fees from the members. Responding to this issue, the official sai: "We will return the money to everybody who was denied entry on any premises (Qutub Golf Course/sport complexes)." Queried on the inability of the people to book online slots, the officials said the DDA is working on it.
(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at email@example.com)