While for years lakhs of residents of jhuggi jhopri resettlement colonies paid a meagre lease rent of Rs.6 per month, they were unable to get the ownership of plots allotted to them. But now after almost 35 years, the dream of many to get the papers of their houses appears closer to realisation than ever before.

The Delhi Cabinet had on July 16 finally approved the grant of freehold and ownership rights to the allottees and occupants of 45 such colonies. The move, said to have been approved in principle by the Union Urban Development Ministry, would mean that the residents of these resettlement colonies would also be able to raise loans on their properties, divide them legally among their children or heirs or properly sell them off.

The Delhi Government is expecting the announcement for the final notification of grant of ownership rights to these colonies within the next couple of months.

These colonies had come up at various points in time, starting from the 1950s, as the Delhi Development Authority and the Union Government wanted to accommodate families which were dislocated due to removal or demolition of JJ clusters.

“The families were allotted plots varying from 25 square yards to 80 square yards on licence basis. The licence fee was just Rs.6 per month,” said Public Works Department Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan. A number of resettlement colonies exist in Mr. Chauhan’s Assembly constituency of Mongolpuri.

Over the years, these colonies have grown vertically and become quite congested. Several such colonies have already been provided many facilities. “In Mongolpuri, there are water and sewer lines, electricity connections and roads with dense carpeting and concrete lanes,” claimed Mr. Chauhan, adding that the provisions for such facilities have been made in various such colonies across Delhi.

As for the change in ownership pattern, it would come with a price tag attached. “The original allottees or their legal heirs would have to pay only 5 per cent of the circle rate. It would be higher at 30 per cent of the circle rate for those who have purchased these properties in resale up to March 31, 2007, while those who had purchased the plots thereafter or had occupied the vacant plots in these colonies and constructed on them would have to pay the full circle rate,” the Minister said.

About 90 per cent of the plots have been resold in these colonies over the years while about 10 per cent are still with the original allottees. “The percentage of illegal occupants is very small,” Mr. Chauhan said.

“The biggest advantage of this would be that it would allow the plot holders to raise loans on them, sell or divide the floors . Many of the colonies in my constituency were established around 1976-77 when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. The original residents have now grown old and this ownership would come as a relief to them.”

Likewise, he said, for most of the subsequent buyers, who had purchased these flats or plots on power of attorney, the ownership title would bring them peace of mind.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had stated that around 2.5 lakh plot holders would benefit from the scheme. There are about seven lakh families or 30 lakh people who reside in these 45 resettlement colonies at present.

Among the prominent resettlement colonies that will benefit from the new ownership pattern are Mongolpuri, Sultanpuri and Madangir in North-West Delhi, Madipur, Nangloi and Janakpuri in West Delhi and Srinivaspuri and Satya Niketan in South Delhi.

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