The Modi government on Wednesday approved regularising 1,797 unauthorised colonies in the national capital, a move taken with an eye on Assembly polls nearly 100 days away, but which also promises to boost the real estate sector in Delhi. These colonies are home to an estimated four million people.
Regularisation will allow building of civic infrastructure, including drainage and sewerage, in these colonies, and confer ownership rights on owners. In Delhi, the subject of land, along with law and order, comes under the Centre.
Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the decision will “pave the way for incentivised planned urbanisation and transform the urban squalor into modern urban spaces with modern amenities” in these colonies.
Puri said ownership rights to people living in these colonies will enable them to build, sell and take bank loans on these properties. The Modi government will bring a Bill on this in the Winter Session of Parliament, which starts on November 18. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the Cabinet decision.
The government said the decision was only applicable to colonies inhabited by lower-income groups, and not to the 69 affluent colonies that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has identified. Some of the better-known affluent colonies are Sainik Farms, Mahendru Enclave and Anant Ram Dairy.
The rights will be conferred on payment of nominal charge based on carpet area/plot size. For colonies on government land, the charge will be 0.5 per cent of the circle rate for less than 100 sqm plots, 1 per cent for 100-250 sqm and 2.5 per cent for plots bigger than that. The circle rate applicable will be of the highest category of locality of the residential area surrounding the unauthorised colony. For colonies on private land, the charge will be half of the charge on government land.
The DDA will lay down a simplified procedure for issuing conveyance deed and registration of property. It will delineate the boundaries of these colonies, clusters of colonies and prepare local area plans. There will be no penalty and external development charges, a cabinet note stated.
The move is set to trigger competing claims between the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. The AAP has for the past six months accusing the Centre for the delay in regularizing these colonies. Most of the colonies are home to migrants from across the country, particularly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
However, in the cabinet note released on Wednesday, the Centre said the Delhi government was to coordinate and supervise the regularization according to regulations framed in 2008, but “could not delineate the boundaries of these colonies even after 11 years” and has sought more time up to 2021 to complete this exercise.
It said that in the absence of basic amenities, the residents of these colonies are living in uninhabitable conditions. No redevelopment has taken place so far in these colonies as the residents do not have ownership rights, the cabinet note said.
The government said the cabinet decision was based on the recommendations of a Delhi Lieutenant Governor headed committee consultations with all stakeholders.
The last regularization of such colonies in Delhi was done in 1977. The question of regularization of these colonies has been a major election plank of all political parties in Delhi ever since its first election after its granted statehood in 1993.
Delhi Assembly elections are to be held before mid-February. In other political developments in Delhi, the Congress appointed former legislator Subhash Chopra as its Delhi unit chief. The position was lying vacant after Sheila Dikshit died.
The BJP has been on the defensive after the demolition of the Ravidas temple in Delhi's Tughlaqabad area by the DDA, which comes under the Centre. The AAP and Congress have accused BJP of being anti-Dalit. However, the Supreme Court has allowed reconstruction of the temple after the Centre said it will allot twice the land for reconstruction of the temple.