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Sonia reiterates commitment to poor

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Fulfilling a promise: Congress president Sonia Gandhi distributing provisional certificate to a representative of an unauthorised colony in New Delhi on Saturday. Others seen are Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy and DPCC president, J.P. Agarwal.
Fulfilling a promise: Congress president Sonia Gandhi distributing provisional certificate to a representative of an unauthorised colony in New Delhi on Saturday. Others seen are Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy and DPCC president, J.P. Agarwal.

Smriti Kak Ramachandran

Cites provisional regularisation certificates for the residents of illegal colonies as proof

NEW DELHI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday described distribution of provisional regularisation certificates to residents of the Capital’s unauthorised colonies as more important than the nuclear deal agreement with the U.S. Her speech was, however, disrupted when a handful of protesting farmers descended on the Chhatrasal Stadium, the venue of the meeting, shouting anti-Congress slogans.

Ms. Gandhi said the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre and the Congress took the first step towards regularising unauthorised colonies when in February 2007 the Delhi Master Plan-2021 was notified.

She said the party had continued to carry out its poverty alleviation policies and almost 30 years after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi regularised the first batch of unauthorised colonies in the Capital, provisional certificates were being given now to 1,200 more such colonies.

Ms. Gandhi said the Congress-led Delhi Government had begun development work in the unauthorised colonies and a budget of Rs.2,800 crore has been set aside for providing to the residents of these colonies the basic amenities of power, water, roads and sewers.

The Congress president endorsed the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal as a means of securing more development in India. “In the absence of power,” she said, “India cannot match other nations vis-À-vis development.”

No one can deny that power is the country’s “biggest demand” and there can be no development without power, she added.

The Congress president handed over the provisional certificates to representatives from Harijan Basti, Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, Nangloi Extension Part I, Mangolpur Khurd, Sangam Vihar Block B, Prem Nagar, Nathu Colony, Harijan Basti Lal Kuan, Param Vihar part V Kiradi, Prem Nagar I, Ganesh Nagar and Pandav Nagar Complex.

Farmers’ protest

Minutes after Ms. Gandhi gave away the provisional certificates and was addressing the crowd, a small group of farmers from Kanjhawala who have been demanding higher compensation for land and review of the Government’s land acquisition policies raised anti-Congress and anti-Sonia slogans.

Although on a small scale, the protesters managed to interrupt the proceedings as Congress party supporters rushed in to quell the dissenting voices. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said Ms. Gandhi’s presence at the function was proof enough that the Congress had done what it had promised to deliver. With the distribution of the provisional certificates, she said, it had become evident that the Congress was not misleading the Capital’s residents and was committed towards regularisation of unauthorised colonies.

Among those present were Union Minister for Urban Development Jaipal Reddy, Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken, DPCC president J. P. Agarwal and Jagdish Tytler, MP.

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