‘Work to provide basic services like roads, drains, water supply, street lighting and sewerage will be taken up on war footing’

A day after Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly V. K. Malhotra attacked the Delhi Government for going slow in the matter of providing services to unauthorised colonies that had come up on the land owned by the Archaeological Survey of India and the Forest Department, Delhi Urban Development and Revenue Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely on Tuesday said all obstacles coming in the way of carrying out developmental works in 91 such colonies have been cleared.

The Minister said the Delhi Government had been working towards bringing these colonies, which had fully or partly come up on the ASI or forest land, under the ambit of planned development as far as civic amenities were concerned for improving the standard of living of the residents. Due to the efforts, he said 91 colonies have been accorded clearance by the ASI and the Forest Department.

Mr. Lovely said the Government has decided to regularise these 91 colonies at the earliest and would now start providing basic services like roads, drains, water supply, street lighting and sewerage facilities there. He claimed that this work would be taken up on war-footing now.

Recalling how the Sheila Dikshit Government had earlier taken the decision not to allow demolitions in any of the unauthorised colonies, Mr. Lovely said there was no reason not to provide basic amenities to the residents of any colony.

The Minister said Prof. Malhotra was trying to “create confusion and panic by disseminating tailored and distorted facts’’ on the issue.

Prof. Malhotra had on Monday stated that in 2010 the Parliament had approved an amendment according to which areas beyond 100 metres of an archaeological monument were allowed to be developed.

“However, the Chief Minister for last two years have been misleading lakhs of people saying there is no permission to start development work in ASI and Ridge areas,’’ he had charged.

The senior BJP leader said the Delhi Government had thus deprived two million people living in these colonies of proper sanitation, sewerage, roads, water facilities and was now instead of apologising to them indulging in gimmicks in the election year.

Prof. Malhotra had also insisted that since 2010 he has been repeatedly urging the Chief Minister and Secretary Urban Development to start developmental work in these colonies but all his requests and appeals were ignored and no action was taken.

Mr. Lovely said the no objection from the Forest Department and ASI has been obtained after a detailed survey in all revenue villages concerned.

He said the Delhi Government has taken all aspects into consideration before allowing developmental works in these colonies as it was sensitive to the needs of the residents. “Keeping in view the needs of developmental works the Government has also allowed developmental works in colonies adjoining ASI monuments just leaving out only restricted prohibited area,’’ he pointed out.

The Minister said the executing agencies have been told to expedite the works by preparing the estimates within shortest possible time .

He said the Delhi Government has taken the “bold decision’’ to regularise 895 unauthorised colonies in one go and would not leave any stone unturned in putting the words into action.

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