In a move that will benefit lakhs of people in the Capital, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) will regularise properties built on government land by refugees displaced after Partition.
The DDA’s policy for regularisation of property titles will come as a breather for lakhs of people living in areas such as Karol Bagh, Pahar Ganj, Anand Parbat, Regharpura, Chuna Mandi, etc.
Displaced from their homes during Partition, the original occupants of these properties had settled down unauthorisedly on open spaces that belonged to the government in the late 1940s. These occupants were issued papers known as ‘damages slips’ and they paid ‘damages’ for using the government land.
In 1957, these lands were transferred to the DDA. The number of such properties in 1959 was approximately 18,179.
The DDA has now decided to regularise these property titles through payment of a one-time charge after verifying claims. DDA vice-chairman Balvinder Kumar has directed officials of the land development agency to formulate a policy for thousands of properties occupied by displaced persons and others from 1940 onwards on the basis of ‘paying damages’ or ‘leases’. These properties fall under 23 ‘Nazul Estates’ of Delhi.
Though these properties never had titles, over a period of time these plots were either inherited, subdivided or sold and the ‘damages slips’ became the basis of various transactions and registration, including sale, change of ownership (mutation), etc.
The number of these properties have now multiplied many times. Around one lakh families and about five lakh people stay in these properties after paying damages and many even without paying any damages, a DDA spokesperson said.
Some of the land was on leasehold basis and continues to be occupied by such occupants even though the leases have either expired or have been cancelled, the spokesperson said.
The DDA expects that the policy for regularization would provide relief to such thousands of unauthorized occupants who have been continuing to occupy government land either unauthorizedly or through leases for more than 60 years.
The authority is collecting details of the households, their occupants, etc. from the Census House Listing Schedules of 2010-2011 where each structure has been listed along with the status of the owner or the tenant.
The help of the National Population Register-2011 and various socio-economic surveys is also being taken to get the exact details, the spokesperson said.