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Congmen meets PM over sealings

A delegation of Delhi MLAs, led by Chief Minister Dikshit, urges PM to find a solution, reports Amitabh Shukla.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 23:00 IST

The sealing issue reached the prime minister's door on Thursday with a delegation of Congress MLAs from Delhi, led by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, urging Manmohan Singh to find a solution.

They demanded an amnesty scheme for all those affected by sealing and demolitions and said the "mistakes" committed up to December 31, 2005 be "pardoned".

It was an open session at the PM's residence with several MLAs voicing concern on the sealing drive and making it clear that the violations took place due to the failure of the DDA to provide sufficient houses and shops as mandated by the Master Plan itself.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit apprised the PM of the problem at hand and blamed multiplicity of authorities in Delhi for the mess. She wanted a unified command and also restructuring and pruning of DDA.

Urban Development Minister AK Walia said, "Seventy per cent of the population in Delhi is living in unauthorised areas". He said 30 lakh people live in slums, another 30 lakh in unauthorised colonies and the remaining in houses, which have unauthorised constructions. "Multiplicity of authorities is hampering the development of Delhi," Walia added.

Member of DDA and Congress MLA Mahabal Mishra pointed out to the futility of the Master Plan 2021 to solve the problem in hand. "The solution does not lie in the Master Plan but an amnesty scheme wherein all constructions and shops that came upto December 31, 2005 should be regularised," added Mishra in the meeting.

The MLA claimed that 40 lakh people are on their way out from the city due to the closure of shops and most of them are migrants.

The PM heard the MLAs patiently and assured them that a solution would be found in the legal and legislative framework. He said a new strategy for the future has to be worked out. The Principal Secretary to the PM would sit with the Secretaries of the Ministries concerned - Home and Urban Development to work out the details of the solution.

Several Congress MLAs spoke on the need for relief. Mukesh Sharma said Delhi has no role in the drafting of the Master Plan and asked that the draft document be sent to the Assembly for discussion and amendment.

Blaming the DDA for all the ills plaguing the city, he said, "DDA has become a government coloniser and has destroyed Delhi over the years". He said that if statehood was not feasible due to legal difficulties, at least land should be transferred to the state government.

DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma asked for statehood and a year's immunity from law to improve the system. Other MLAs demanded that MCD be handed over to the Delhi government. MLAs Subhash Chopra, Bhisham Sharma, Tarwinder Marwah, SC Vats and ministers AS Lovely and Raj Kumar Chauhan too spoke on various facets of the problems.

"It was a very fruitful discussion. We have high hopes from the PM and expect a solution soon," said Jile Singh Chauhan, another MLA and member of the DDA.

Email ashukla@hindustantimes.com