Thousands of residents of unauthorised colonies led by senior Congress leaders converged at the 3 Motilal Nehru Marg residence of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday to thank her for the announcement on regularisation of 917 unauthorised colonies in Delhi.

In keeping with the joyous mood, accentuated by the bursting of crackers, beating of drums, distribution of sweets and raising of slogans, Ms. Dikshit also declared that even those unauthorised colonies that have come up on Government land belonging to the Archaeological Survey of India, Delhi Ridge and the Forest Department would not be demolished. Ms. Dikshit had earlier on Tuesday announced that within a week she would announce a plan for these colonies as well.

The Chief Minister was greeted at her residence by senior party leaders including her Parliament Secretary Mukesh Sharma, South Delhi MP Ramesh Kumar, and former Outer Delhi MP Sajjan Kumar’s son and president of Delhi Unauthorised Colonies Sammelan Jag Parvesh Kumar.

They garlanded her and put a “crown” on her head to honour her.

Those gathered also thanked UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath for bringing about the regularisation of 917 unauthorised colonies.

Ms. Dikshit addressed the gathering in three batches as the crowd was huge and could not have been accommodated in her lawns in one group.

The Chief Minister said issue of regularisation was a vexed one and hence the Government has proceeded cautiously to avoid any future legal and procedural wrangle. She declared that the remaining unauthorised colonies would also be regularised soon and no such colony would be demolished and a family displaced.

As for the colonies that have come up on forest or ASI land, she said: “We will never like to disturb any family who has been putting up in a house constructed with their hard earned money. Large number of families were forced to put up in unauthorised colonies as there was acute shortage of dwelling units in Delhi.”

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