"About five lakh people come to Delhi every year and many of them are poor and so any housing solution should also factor them in" says Chief Minister

While she has so far been seen pressing for regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has declared that no more illegal colonies will be allowed to come up in future.

Talking to The Hindu, Ms. Dikshit said there was no question of “perpetuating illegality” and avowed that “efforts will also be made to ensure that no more unauthorised colonies come up and Delhi develops in a planned manner hereon.”

On whether the idea of Union Urban Development Minister of vertical growth for the city held the key, Ms Dikshit said “about five lakh people come to Delhi every year and many of them are poor and so any housing solution should also factor them in”.

Since the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has raised the issue of residents of unauthorised colonies still not being able to get their properties registered or to raise loans on them, Ms. Dikshit said her government was working on giving ownership rights to the residents of all unauthorised colonies by opening registration for them.

“We are working on the concept and would draft necessary guidelines in the matter,” she said.

The Delhi Government is also expected to bring in a legislation in the Assembly in the next session to treat all cases of illegal land encroachment as criminal acts and provide for strict punishment to those grabbing public land in the future. An aide of Ms. Dikshit said in all about 1,600 unauthorised colonies will be regularised over a period of time, and following that a policy of zero tolerance will be adopted to deal with the issue.

“We will have to chalk out a strategy as such colonies have now spread to almost all the boundaries of Delhi and rampant grabbing of forest and government land will turn Delhi into an urban slum.”

The regularisation process, this time, he said, was also much more exhaustive. When 612 colonies were regularised in the 1970s, the ground reality was different from the maps and apart from the regularised portions, the vacant spaces were treated as “left out” areas and utilised for common facilities, while still others were treated as “deleted portions”. However, the concept of “left out” areas does not exist anymore and the government will be empowered to acquire the open spaces within the boundaries for development of common facilities, he insisted.

The Delhi Government has also asked all the legislators to choose the civic agencies from which they would like development works in the regularised colonies done in their constituencies and that this job will no longer be the sole domain of the area civic body.

So an MLA can choose between the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Public Works Department, Irrigation and Flood Control Department, or Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructural Development Corporation.

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