The Delhi government is planning to reintroduce the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Second Amendment) Bill in this Budget session.
The Bill —that has been pending since 2004 — proposes to hike penalties and increase punishment for provisions for tackling widespread unauthorised construction, illegal hoardings and advertisements at places other than bus Q-shelters and MCD-approved spots, encroachment on public land, littering and dumping of garbage and construction waste.
The Delhi assembly met on Monday to start the budget session that will go on for the next 15 days.
The Bill, if cleared, will be implemented by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
“This Bill was with the Government of India. Delhi government wants to implement it with the Commonwealth Games coming up. The Bill was passed to us by the MCD and was referred to a House committee by us,” said Delhi urban development and finance minister A.K. Walia.
The Bill had been introduced in 2004, but was shouted down by the Congress’s own MLA’s who were opposed to be hefty penalties proposed against unauthorised construction.
However, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said the Bill was yet to be discussed in the cabinet and might be tabled in the next session.
“Already there are penalties. One can pay the penalty and build a window, but penalty alone cannot prevent unauthorised construction,” said Dikshit, who was aware of the resistance to the law within the Congress ranks.
“It has not been tabled in front of the cabinet or me. So it might be tabled in the next Assembly session and not this one. Anyway, Walia is the minister and he has to implement (the law)…,” said Dikshit.
The Delhi Excise Bill is the other legislation to be presented in the Assembly in this session. This proposes to replace the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, currently in use in Delhi.
If this Bill becomes an Act, selling spurious liquor will get the culprits 6 months in prison, or Rs 1 lakh in fine. Drinking in public will leave a hole worth Rs 5,000 in your pocket. If you create nuisance, the penalty may go up to Rs 10,000 and three months’ in prison. At present, one has to shell out Rs 200. “Those brewing hooch will get life or death sentence or a fine of Rs 10 lakh if it causes death. And it will be a non-bailable offence,” said Walia.
Delhi LG Tejinder Khanna addressed the assembly, listing the government’s achievements. The air of gloom in the opposition camp was palpable with BJP MLAs listening in utter silence – in sheer contrast to last year’s pandemonium.