The spectre of sealing and demolition of unauthorized residential as well as commercial properties might return to haunt Delhiites in the coming days, after a key legislation providing immunity to such structures lapsed on December 31.
On the radar are all such residential properties across the city which have additional unauthorized constructions, shops/ commercial establishments running from residential areas, high end designer boutiques, furniture showroom that have come up on the Mehrauli Gurgaon Road, Shah Pur Jat, Hauz Khas Village and other rural and urbanised villages. Besides these slums, hospitals, schools and religious institutions that have encroached on public land also face the risk of demolition.
With the Union Urban Development (UD) Ministry – the nodal ministry dealing with the matter – failing to extend the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2009, the Capital’s two main civic agencies --Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) have started the process of sealing cum demolition drive.
A senior MCD official, who did not want to be quoted, said that the civic agency has already prepared a list of 1000 unauthorized properties which will be issued show cause notices. “Initially we will target residential properties that are being used for commercial purposes. We will start issuing showcause notices in the next few days,” said the official.
Speaking to HT, Kamal Nath, Union UD Minister said, “I am examining the desirability of extending the moratorium given to such properties.”
However, ministry sources said that with no law in place now to give immunity to such illegal properties, civic agencies are well within law to resume sealing/demolition again.
The Ministry failed to bring in a Bill to extend the Act in the winter session of the Parliament that concluded in December because of pandemonium by the opposition party over the alleged 2G spectrum scam. The UDM had then planned to bring in an ordinance in January to extend the Delhi Law (Special Provisions) Act, 2009 by another year but the process got delayed.
Sources said that now with the budget session of the Parliament already been summoned, the ministry can’t bring in an ordinance. “The only option left with us is to bring a bill to extend the Act during the budget session. In this interim period civic agencies can resume sealing again,” said a UD ministry official who did not want to be quoted.
Sources said that the UD Ministry is also exploring the possibility of bringing in a new policy to regularize all such residential and commercial structures that have come up -- unauthorizedly -- before February 2006. Unauthorized structures that have come up post 2006 do not have any immunity from sealing/ demolition.
(with inputs from Neely bam Pandey)