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BJP, Cong in war of words over bill to regularise unauthorised colonies


Press Trust of India New Delhi
A war of words broke out between the BJP and Congress in Lok Sabha on Thursday during the discussion on a bill to regularise 1,731 unauthorised colonies in Delhi when BJP's Ramesh Bidhuri alleged that successive Delhi governments failed to extend ownership rights to people residing in those colonies.
Bidhuri's remarks attracted a sharp response from Congress members who said the BJP member cannot take name of a person who is not a member of the House and is not alive.
Participating in the debate on the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019, which seeks to grant ownership rights to residents of 1,731 unauthorised colonies, Bidhuri said the AAP government has also not done anything for "poor" people of these colonies.
Forty lakh poor people were struggling to get ownership of their properties as they came here to earn livelihood, he alleged, adding the number of unauthorised colonies in Delhi would not have increased if the Congress government had taken steps in that direction.
Bidhuri said former Delhi chief minister Shiela Dixit did not think about those people and distributed provisional certificates prior to the 2007 elections despite the fact that the Congress was ruling in both the Centre and in Delhi.
When her name was taken, Congress member Hibi Eden raised a point of order on which Lok Sabha chair A Raja stated that he will look into the records and if found derogatory against any person, that will be expunged.
Intervening in the matter, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the member was only expressing "historical views" on the important legislation.
Adhir Ranjan of the Congress said the BJP member is using derogatory words.
With Bidhuri alleging that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too did nothing for these colonies and only made false promises and statements, AAP member Bhagwant Mann rushed to the well of the House several times seeking time to refute the allegations.
"The then Congress government in Delhi has committed a fraud on these 40 lakh people," Bhiduri said, adding the Centre wrote to the Delhi chief minister several times to demarcate areas of these colonies, but they only sought time and did nothing.
Moving the bill to grant ownership rights to residents of Delhi's unauthorised colonies for consideration, Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the process to map these colonies digitally should have started in 2008.
The process of digital mapping of 1,731 unauthorised colonies of Delhi will be completed by December 31 and uploaded on a newly-created portal. Over 600 colonies have been digitally mapped so far, he said.
Alleging that prior to May 2014, governments failed to do anything for these colonies, the Union minister said that it was the Narendra Modi government which brought Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) so that every Indian can own a house.
Puri said the government will complete the target of constructing all houses under PMAY.
Asserting that there are no basic amenities as local authorities do not treat these areas on par with regular colonies, Puri said, "All attempts made earlier were half-hearted and today over 40-50 lakh people are living in these unauthorised colonies."

"During 2008 and 2019, in 11 years whichever government come in Delhi, they made attempts but they were half-hearted," he said, adding that in these colonies most of the property transactions take place under a power of attorney.
Pointing out that the 66 colonies are excluded from this move as affluent people are residing in there, he said that in the last 11 years, work on digitisation of these colonies should have completed and maps should have been uploaded on a website.
"We will digitised and upload the maps on the new portal which is being created. We are putting up boundaries of these colonies as they are inter-mingling," Puri said, adding people have given 15 days time to respond on these information.
"In the next few weeks, digital maps of 1,731 colonies will be uploaded," he said adding a second portal will also made by December 16.
He said the government has kept the rates of registration very nominal, but several members demanded no charge for it.
"Now we will have a proper ecosystem in place to give them proper ownership rights...The bill is in many ways sui-generis," the Union minister said.
Participating in the discussion, A R Reddy of the Congress said that former chief minister Dixit took several steps for the development of the national capital and this is time when the House should remember her.
Demanding free registration, he asked, "Poor people are living in these colonies, so why you are charging them?"

Dayanidhi Maran of the DMK alleged that like in Delhi, the lieutenant governor of Puducherry is not letting the chief minister to work. Appreciating Kejriwal, Maran said the Delhi chief minister is making honest efforts to regularise these colonies.
"It is the election time and the magic wand is coming out. Why you are taking so much of time? The government is not regularising the remaining colonies because votes are less there," he said.
Pravesh Verma, a BJP MP from Delhi, accused the AAP government of not doing anything to mitigate the problems being faced by the residents of Delhi as his speech was repeatedly interrupted by the AAP's Bhagwant Mann.

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First Published: Nov 28 2019 | 7:30 PM IST

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