The Union Cabinet on Thursday revised guidelines governing regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the Capital to prepare the ground for asking the Delhi High Court to vacate its stay on their regularisation.
The modified guidelines make it cheaper for people living in colonies built on government land to legalise their ownership. Nearly 20 per cent of the colonies came up on public or government land; encroached by the land mafia and sold to people.
Officials say most people living in unauthorised colonies were not rich. But they were not poor like slum dwellers either. "They were willing to pay but there was no supply of houses for the economically weaker sections," an official said.
"All colonies, may, however, have to pay development charges as determined by the Delhi government," an official statement said.
Around 30 lakh people live in nearly 1,500 unauthorised colonies in Delhi that came up before the 31st March 2002 deadline. At least 50 per cent of the plots in a colony should have been constructed as on date to qualify.
Thursday's decision, however, does not cover unauthorised colonies like Sainik Farms or Anant Ram Dairy occupied by the affluent. Reddy said he would return to the Cabinet for a decision on them at a later date after completing examination of a committee constituted to look into their case.
Urban development minister S Jaipal Reddy said the fresh guidelines had graded the penalty to be paid according to the size and location of the colony.
The guidelines will come into force after approval by the high court. "We also have to go before the High Court for ultimate implementation of regularisation," he said.
In 2003, the high court had stayed moves to regularise unauthorised colonies on a public interest litigation filed by HD Shourie-led NGO, Common Cause. The Supreme Court has also advised the government to provide basic civic services ahead of the regularisation.
This is the third time that the guidelines are being revised since 2001. An in-principle decision to regularise colonies was taken by the Cabinet in 2000, guidelines formulated in 2001 and revised the second time ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2004.
The state government and elected representatives, however, asked for a review of the penalty to be charged for occupying government land, saying poor people living in these colonies could not pay for the land as well as penalty.
But the Centre did not spell out the exact number of colonies that would be covered by the guidelines or the definition of government, public and private land. An official said the Delhi government would decide, define and identify government, public or private land. A verification exercise initiated by the state government has not been completed yet.
Email Aloke Tikku: atikku @hindustantimes.com