Sheila Dikshit castigates Delhi govt over delay in regularising unauthorised colonies, targets AAP over its core vote bank

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sheila Dikshit, in a statement aimed at the Aam Aadmi Party's main vote bank in Delhi's unauthorised colonies, has alleged that the AAP is willfully delaying regularisation of these localities.

Her statement comes days after Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri alleged apathy on the part of the state government in conducting a survey to finalise boundaries of colonies in order to regularise them. He also said that since the government was yet to award the contract for a fresh survey, it would take another two years for the process to be completed, delaying the regularisation.

Echoing Puri’s statement, Dikshit said to Firstpost, “The pretext of a fresh survey is nothing but a ploy to postpone the regularisation of unauthorized colonies. Why is a fresh study involving all the unauthorised colonies required when many of them have already gone through the process?”

Sheila Dikshit castigates Delhi govt over delay in regularising unauthorised colonies, targets AAP over its core vote bank

File image of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit. PTI

The former Delhi chief minister also added that during her regime, a detailed physical survey of several unauthorised colonies was conducted, and the present government can base its study on that survey, which was carried out in 2008.

However, she agrees that a survey is required for colonies which have grown further after the earlier study.

“In the cases of a number of unauthorised colonies, the government is only required to conduct a study on the parts which have grown after the last survey took place,” she said.

During Dikshit’s tenure, the state government attempted to regularise 895 such colonies. But many of them did not make it to the final list of regularised colonies.

“An unauthorised colony has to meet certain legal requirements to be regularised. Many of the colonies which were proposed to be regularised failed to do so,” said Manish, a lawyer at the Centre for Policy Research.

Over 50 percent of the unauthorised colonies proposed for regularisation did not meet the legal requirements. However, accepting the surveys conducted in these localities earlier can reduce the time needed for regularisation, say sources.

Several activists who have been raising this issue for a long time have echoed Dikshit's views.

“On the basis of the surveys conducted during Sheila Dikshit's tenure, these colonies received facilities like electricity and roads. The present government can certainly use these surveys as a basis for regularisation,” said Bhupendra Rawat, an activist and member of NGO Jan Sangharsh Vahini. Rawat said that neither the Centre nor the state government is serious in this respect.

There are over 1,700 unauthorised colonies in Delhi, and they have a a population of over five million. On account of the sheer number of voters, these colonies have a lot of influence on politics in the capital. The AAP, which won 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly election of 2015, has a huge support base in these colonies.

Political posturing over this issue began when Hardeep Singh Puri shot off a letter to the Delhi chief minister earlier this week, accusing his government of neglecting the matter.

“The Centre is keen to regularise all unauthorised colonies of Delhi which are covered under the regulations, but the whole process is stalled due to the apathy and inaction on the part of your government to finalise the boundaries after survey of these colonies,” the letter said.

The letter further states that the Delhi government had informed his ministry on 29 January that it would take four months to award the contract for a fresh study.

The AAP has denied the allegations made in the letter, calling them factually misleading, incorrect and imaginary. The AAP statement also said that the chief minister’s office will send a detailed response rebutting the allegations.

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Updated Date: Feb 23, 2019 16:31:24 IST

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