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Legit tag push for all illegal colonies in city

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Legit tag push for all illegal colonies in city

Centre-AAP's rush to regularise unauthorised settlements might change Delhi through massive infra and realty revamp.

In 1962, Delhi had only 110 unauthorised colonies, built-in contravention of zoning regulations, where some two lakh people lived. Migration kept happening but agencies failed to meet growing low-cost housing demands.

Landacquisition hurdles and encroachments made matters worse.

The number of illegal settlements climbed to 1,200 by 2017 as the execution of legal actions like demolition drives by successive governments had long gone out of the equation due to electoral compulsions.

In fact, granting legit tags to these neighbourhoods has been a poll plank for all parties in recent years. Today, about 5.5 million people, or 30% of Delhi's population, live in 1,797 unauthorised colonies --many without basic services like waste management, proper roads, parks, water supply, sewerage lines and parking lots.

But much of it may change now. Setting aside political differences, the BJP-led Centre and the AAP government are taking crucial steps to regularise illegal settlements that will change Delhi through infrastructure and realty revamp.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday that these residents would soon get property ownership and transfer rights. We have asked departments concerned to get ready for a mass registration process. If needed, we will also organise camps to help people, he said.

The CM's announcement came a week after the Centre said it had shared a draft Cabinet note with the city government on regularising these colonies. Kejriwal thanked the Modi government for accepting his government's 2015 proposal on the issue.

Over the past 12 years, successive governments, both in Delhi and at the Centre, have made regularisation promises but nothing much happened because of political differences and technical issues. Handing over these rights to the residents is a major step in granting legal status to the settlements.


Arunava Dasgupta of School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) admitted that giving property ownership and transfer rights to people was a positive decision.

The first step towards allowing residents to belong to a city is to give recognition and security of tenure. Only after that there is a possibility of being able to leverage that security in different ways, especially in terms of long-term livelihood as well as looking at economic upgradation in some form or the other, he said.

But it has to be followed up with very strong commitments towards improving the physical quality of living environment in those areas. The framework of development that takes place cannot be free of any regulations, he said.

Since people do not pay any taxes while buying properties, essential services are poor in these colonies. Over the years, while successive governments have promised to regularise these settlements, they have also provided services.

Local lawmakers also contribute. But this is not an organised system. In Thursday's announcement, Kejriwal said the people living in these colonies have not seen development in the past many years.

The Delhi government undertook works of Rs 6,000 crore for their development in the last four and a half years since AAP came to power, he said.


However, a day after Kejriwal's announcement, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Puri accused him of trying to take undue credit despite having tried to stop the project all along.

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari also said The work for regularisation of the unauthorised colonies has been speeded up after a committee headed by the Lt Governor handed over its report to the Housing and Urban Affairs Minister. Now, there is no scope for the Kejriwal government to stall it.


The government has set a cutoff date of January 1, 2015, for granting property ownership and transfer rights to the residents. For the regularisation process to begin, the colony has to have a registered Residents' Welfare Association (RWA).

There has to be a layout plan of the colony and a complete list of residents. The plan has to include information such as boundaries of the colony and the names of streets. Once the application for regularisation is submitted, a series of steps are to be carried out by the civic body.

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