In a decision that may add more fuel to the ongoing confrontation between the AAP and the Centre, the Delhi government has cleared a proposal that all agencies will have to seek its permission before demolishing slums in Delhi.
The proposal was cleared at a meeting of the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) on Monday. The meeting, a copy of the agenda note of which is with HT, was chaired by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The proposal has been sent to the Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung for final approval.
Since the Delhi government cannot make laws on the subject of land and several slums are located on land belonging to central agencies such as the DDA or the railways, the permission issue may cause more friction between the Delhi government and the Centre.
The proposal explains that as per the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, 2011 and 2014 punitive action against encroachment has to be done with prior approval from the administrator of Delhi or the officer authorised by him.
Since L-G is the administrator of Delhi, the government wants to get the DUSIB CEO authorised for clearing such action.There are approximately three lakh slums in Delhi in which 15 lakh people live. Only 40% slums are on Delhi government land while the rest are on lands belonging to different agencies.
“There have been several cases of slum dwellers approaching courts against the eviction drive by various departments such as MCD, DDA, etc. The courts have time and again given directions that the cases of slum dwellers should be properly considered for rehabilitation,” said a senior Delhi government official.
DDA vice-chairman Balvinder Kumar said this order would not apply to the authority. “This order can’t be applicable to DDA. The public land in Delhi belongs to the central government. Parliament has already passed a law that defines who will get protection from demolition and nothing is above that law,” said Kumar.
The civic bodies said the proposal encroached on their powers. “Arvind Kejriwal is an anarchist and he is trying to take over the municipal corporations. The move will only encourage encroachment. This policy will trigger chaos,” said Ravindra Gupta, north Delhi mayor. He said that it was aimed at appeasing the party’s “vote bank”.
DUSIB officials, however, argued that agencies remove slum clusters without following the law, which results in losses to the inhabitants.In its poll manifesto, AAP had promised that no slums will be demolished till appropriate rehabilitation is ensured.