In a bid to compete with the populism of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Narendra Modi Cabinet took a pro-corruption but practical decision on illegal colonies of Delhi on Wednesday. The central government has decided to regularise unauthorised colonies of Delhi, which will give ownership to 40 lakh people. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar shared the information with journalists at a press conference today.
A majority of residential settlements in the capital city are unauthorised. It means when the houses and roads in these areas were coming up, the civic authority did not intervene to check whether the builders were abiding by all relevant laws. However, for decades, these neighbourhoods were not recognised as legitimate either. As a result, while these areas looked ugly, with houses, cheek-by-jowl, appearing to be falling over one another, electricity wires dangling over people’s heads and no regular water supply from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (which now exists in the form of four branches), no government could undo the damage because displacing lakhs of people was unthinkable.
The Modi Cabinet has decided to regularise illegal colonies since a similar exercise was undertaken 11 years ago. People living in illegal colonies will heave a sigh of relief as a result.
In July, Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal had announced the beginning of the process of regularising the unauthorised colonies. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had cleared the redevelopment plan for illegal colonies on government land. In the initial phase, houses will be given to people on the lines of a populist slogan ‘jahān jhuggi wahān makān‘ (your house on the exact plot where your shanty exists) in 32 colonies. The survey work for this rehabilitating exercise will start soon.
The chief minister of Delhi said that this would directly benefit the population of about 60 lakh. After regularisation, colonies will be able to have a registry. People will get ownership of their house. The Kejriwal Cabinet in Delhi had on 2 November 2015 passed a resolution to regularise the colonies. On 12 November, the proposal was sent to the central government, which the Modi government accepted but had not put to action. The next Assembly election in Delhi is slated for 2020.