iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 16, 2013
With an eye on rural voters, the Delhi government on Saturday announced extension of Lal Dora in 360 villages and lifting of restriction on use of agricultural land for construction purposes. The decisions — expected to benefits lakhs of people living in rural as well as urban villages in the Capital — were taken at a Cabinet meeting earlier on Saturday. They were announced at Grameen Vikas Sammelan organised by South Delhi MP Ramesh Kumar at Talkatora Stadium later during the day. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit attended the sammelan.

Dikshit described them as “historical decisions”. She said the villagers will now be able get their properties registered and carry out construction works after approval of building plans from authorities. Dikshit said she has also asked the revenue department to withdraw all pending cases under Section 81 in various courts.

Till now, Section 81 of the Land Reforms Act prohibited villagers from using their agricultural land for construction of houses or other purposes. A large number of farmers, under various groups and affiliated to different political parties, had been demanding the removal of Section 81 for the past few months.

“We won’t let rural Delhi lag behind the urban areas in development. We will provide same facilities in these areas that are available in urban areas. Our political opponents say that this decision is taken keeping in mind the upcoming elections, but if that would have been so, you wouldn’t have elected us thrice,” she said while addressing villagers.

Delhi revenue minister Arvinder Singh said anybody who wants to build a house in rural area can now approach the municipal corporations, as it is the civic agencies which have the authority to clear the building plan.

“Villagers should be allowed to build their home on their land wherever they want. We have decided that Lal Dora will be extended to all 360 villages. We will give three months’ time to RWAs or Gram Sabhas to identify the extended population of the village and apply accordingly,” Singh said.

The minister said the villagers living anywhere, in rural or urbanised villages -- Lal Dora, extended Lal Dora, farm houses or even at places under the 20-point programme -- will not be issued any notices under Section 81 from now on. He added that the government has also decided to relax restrictions under Section 33 of the Land Reforms Act, which will pave the way for transfer of land by farmland owners.