Friday, August 29, 2014

Delhi Gymkhana Club: Pollution controversy and rivalry within bureaucracy!

WITH the standoff between Delhi Gymkhana Club (DGC) and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) escalating after the latter had directed closure of the elite club on the grounds of pollution early this month, the issue has caught attention in international media as well. The Wall Street Journal, for example, has published an article titled: “Delhi Gymkhana Tussles With Bureaucracy”. But before coming into the latest row, let’s first look at why Delhi’s elite seeks to be a…
part of the club, located at 27.3 acres of land in Lutyens Delhi. As WSJ article writes: “Membership at the storied Gymkhana is highly sought after by Delhi’s rich and powerful, who enjoy tea in the alcoves off the ballroom, a dip in the Lady Willingdon Swimming Bath and maybe a whisky at the bar.” No wonder, waiting list for membership is about 100 years long! The club’s current president is road transport secretary and 1978 batch IAS Vijay Chhibber.
The club has 26 grass courts and seven synthetic courts with three of them flood-lit. It also has three squash courts, a covered swimming pool and a library probably with about 35,000 books, a dining hall with three bars, a restaurant and 43 transit cottages for its members.
Now, on controversies. Last month, Delhi government seized Gymkhana’s bank accounts on the ground that it had failed to pay about Rs 3 crore as luxury taxes. The club moved court and the issue got resolved after it had paid half of its outstanding luxury taxes. Delhi High Court allowed that the club could pay the rest at a later date.
Then, early this month, DPCC directed closure of the club, holding it responsible for wasting water, causing pollution and flouting environmental norms. The club got a stay order from the court.
It’s believed that the current row is not just about adherence of rules and procedures, but of rivalry and jealousy within senior bureaucracy.
Delhi Pollution Control Committee chairman Sanjiv Kumar is a 1992 batch IAS of AGMUT cadre and also a member of the club.
In fact, a large number of bureaucrats are members of the club. According to the selection criteria for government employees, only Class-I officers are allowed to apply for membership.
Besides Chhibber who is an IAS, the current governing body of the club has a number of officers, mostly retired. They include retired IIS officer Urmila Gupta, retired IRS officer Girish Sharma, retired Indian Postal Service officer Suneeta Trivedi.

1 comment:

  1. Delhi Gymkhana Club is the place in New Delhi where all backyard corruption deals are fixed and dealt with. I have seen many shady things happening there.

    Wasn't a 19 year old girl raped inside the club by an uncle who is an member of the club?