Ahead of the Delhi assembly elections, the urban development (UD) ministry may have fast-tracked the process to regularise three affluent but unauthorised colonies - Sainik Farms, Anant Ram Dairy in the south and Mahendru Enclave in north Delhi - to gain political mileage.
However, deciding on the regularisation charges and penalties to be imposed on these colonies for violations will prove to be the real challenge for the UD ministry. The issue - of what kind of regularisation charges should be imposed and how much penalty to levy for these colonies dotted by farmhouses and villas and inhabited by political and corporate bigwigs - has been a major bone of contention in the government.
Sources said this is one of the reasons why the UD ministry right now wants to just get an in-principal approval from the cabinet to regularise these colonies and decide on the regularisation charges later after consulting the Delhi government and civic bodies.
Various expert committees set up by the government over the last decade had ruled out demolition and favoured regularisation after charging a hefty fee on the ground that majority of the pockets in these colonies are inhabited by the rich.
However, sources said that the government has rejected the recommendation of an expert committee headed by former Delhi chief secretary KK Mathur, which had suggested imposing hefty regularisation charges for these colonies. The committee, which submitted its report in 2006, had recommended that pockets under these three colonies that have encroached on government land should be charged the market value of the land as regularisation fee and another 50 per cent of the market value of the land as penalty.
For those pockets that have come up on private land, the committee had recommended a penalty for misuse of land at the rate of 20% of the market value of the land as prevalent in similar affluent but authorized colonies in the neighbourhood.
Sources said the UD ministry has rejected the Mathur committee's recommendation on the ground that they are impractical. Currently, the UD ministry wants to regularise Sainik Farms, Mahendru Enclave,Anant Ram Diary though the committee had mentioned 17 such "affluent" colonies.