Delhi unauthorised colony residents say ownership rights still a pipe dream

Updated on Nov 21, 2022 06:48 AM IST

The central government launched the Prime Minister-Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi Awas Adhikar Yojana (PM-Uday) in December 2019, just before the Assembly elections in 2020.

Unauthorised colonies at Ganesh Nagar in New Delhi. (HT Photo)
Unauthorised colonies at Ganesh Nagar in New Delhi. (HT Photo)
ByRisha Chitlangia

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is projecting the Centre’s move to allot flats to slum residents as its key achievement, it faces a tough task ahead of the municipal elections to address the concerns of residents of unauthorised colonies who are yet to get ownership rights under the PM-Uday scheme. Residents of these colonies say the BJP’s “unfulfilled promises” are going to be a key issue in the upcoming polls.

The central government launched the Prime Minister-Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi Awas Adhikar Yojana (PM-Uday) in December 2019, just before the Assembly elections in 2020.

Its purpose was to give ownership rights to residents of 1,731 unauthorised colonies in Delhi after the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Act, 2019, was passed by Parliament.

While the central government began the process to grant rights, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the nodal agency for the implementation of this scheme, had to stop the process in at least 80 unauthorised colonies that fall in the ‘O-zone’, where construction activity is banned, according to the Master Plan of Delhi-2021.

Anil Sharma, a resident of Jaitpur, an unauthorised colony, who has formed an association to pursue the matter with the DDA, said, “It is going to be three years in December and the Centre has not been able to address this issue till now. We invested time and money in starting the process to get the survey done and preparing documents. But the process was stopped mid-way in 2020 and we don’t know when it is going to start.”

He added, “People voted for the BJP last time as it promised to give ownership rights. This is going to be one of the main election issues this time.”

Like Jaitpur, there are many unauthorised colonies in Badarpur, Okhla and Karawal Nagar, where residents have been waiting to get ownership rights.

Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana said, “The central government is committed to giving ownership rights to residents of all 1,731 unauthorised colonies. The Centre has taken measures to address the issue in the new Master Plan of Delhi-2041, which will be notified soon. Residents will get ownership rights. We gave flats to slum residents recently. We deliver on our promises.”

However, even in the list of 1,731 colonies, 69 unauthorised colonies were not included, such as Chattarpur Extension and Sainik Farms, since these are considered “affluent”. Residents of these 69 unauthorised colonies say that in the municipal elections, ownership rights is going to be a key poll issue.

Raman Aggarwal, president of the welfare association of the 69 unauthorised colonies, said these colonies are mainly located in south Delhi in areas such as Deoli, Khanpur, Chattarpur, Khirki Extension, Mehrauli, Mahipalpur and Bijwasan.

“For past three years, we have approached all government agencies to address our issue. When PM-Uday was launched, we were told that our colonies will be taken up in the later stages. We can’t live in uncertainty forever. As many as three lakh people live in these 69 colonies and most of the plots are very small. When the government is giving ownership to other colonies, then why not to us? This going to be a key poll issue.”

BJP leaders admit that voters in these 69 unauthorised colonies as well as the 80 colonies in the ‘O-zone’ play a decisive role in as many as 40 municipal wards. With the BJP hoping to win a fourth term in the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the party will have to address the concerns of these residents.

Santosh Mishra, general secretary of Chattarpur Extension residents’ welfare association, one of the 69 colonies, said, “We will ask all political parties about their stand on the issue. We want a commitment from them that the matter will be resolved in a time-bound manner. For us, this is the most important issue in these municipal elections, as just promises will not work. We recently held a meeting with residents of all 69 colonies in this regard.”

BJP MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, said, “The Centre is committed to giving ownership rights and has taken measures to address the issue faced by colonies in the ‘O-zone’. The process under PM-Uday will soon start in these unauthorised colonies. As far as affluent colonies are concerned, we have taken up the matter with the central government. I have said earlier also that these colonies should also be given ownership rights.”

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