Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit made all efforts to woo Delhi’s rural electorate by announcing a number of pro-farmer measures at a Grameen Vikas Sammelan here on Saturday.

Stating that the lal dora or village land had become obsolete in the context of Delhi, which was witnessing rapid urbanisation and development, the Chief Minister assured that all problems faced by farmers and villagers living in rural areas would be resolved. Only earlier in the day the Delhi Cabinet had taken a “historical decision” to provide substantial relief to villagers, she said. 

Stressing the need for disseminating decisions by putting scrolls and information boards in offices of the Deputy Commissioners, she said this was essential to ensure that no one with vested interests could mislead the farmers.

She said the Cabinet has taken a decision to provide relief to villages from Section 81 of the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954, (DLR Act) as “it is becoming a hindrance in the development and prosperity of the people”.

“The application of the Section 81 was resulting in registration of cases against the villagers,” she said, while explaining why the Delhi Government had decided to restrict its use against people using their land for purposes other than agriculture.

The Chief Minister also appreciated the issues taken up by 360 Villages Sangharsh Samiti, which had organised the Sammelan. She said the Public Works Department of Delhi Government had been given the responsibility to give a facelift to those 647 roads which were transferred to it from the municipal corporations.

Responding to a demand raised by MLA Bijender Singh to increase the age of superannuation of teachers from 60 to 65 year, Ms. Dikshit said it would be given due consideration.

Delhi Urban Development Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said the application of Section 81 had been creating problems for farmers and villagers and the Government’s decision would give them the right of constructing their houses in the villages. “Henceforth there would be no problem due to application of Section 81 as the Government has decided to exempt an area which is urbanised by way of notification  under Section 507 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, and areas falling within the boundaries of unauthorised regularised colonies, buildings in respect of which building plans have been sanctioned by competent authority or permission granted under Amendment of Master Plan, house sites allotted under 20 Point Programme or in extended abadi as defined under DLR Act.”

Moreover, he said, the cases registered on alleged violation of Section 81 would be withdrawn. The Government would also issue an administrative order on Section 33 which deals with selling less than eight acres of land.

The meeting was also addressed by Delhi Assembly Speaker Yoganand Shastri, South Delhi MP Ramesh Kumar, East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit, and MLAs Bijender Singh, Surender Kumar and Ram Singh Netaji among others. Former Outer Delhi MP Sajjan Kumar’s son Jagparvesh Kumar also spoke at the meeting.

Party sources said while a few thousand people turned up for the meeting, the absence of All-India Congress Committee in-charge of Delhi Birender Singh and Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J. P. Agarwal signalled that factionalism within the party was still rife despite party vice-president Rahul Gandhi recently urging all groups to work together to ensure its success in the upcoming polls.

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