Residents of Delhi’s ‘affluent’ unauthorised colonies demand ownership rights
Residents of Sainik Farms, Chhatarpur Enclave and other 69 “affluent” residential colonies have written to the Delhi Development Authority and central government demanding ownership rights for their properties just like the 1,728 unauthorised colonies are being provided under the PM-UDAY scheme.
In December 2019, the Centre enacted the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Act, 2019, to give ownership rights to residents of unauthorised colonies. A total of 1,797 unauthorised colonies were identified for the purpose, but 69 were not included in the PM-UPDAY scheme as these were termed as “affluent”.
Of these 69 unauthorised colonies, a majority are located in South Delhi parliamentary constituency in areas such as Anant Ram Diary (RK Puram), Neb Sarai, Mehrauli, Bijwasan and Mahipalpur. Unlike a majority of the unauthorised colonies, which are spread across Delhi, these 69 mostly have farmhouses, big plots and have come up on privately owned agricultural land. Of the 1700-odd colonies that are being given property ownership are those that have come up on government land.
“It’s been almost two years and no decision has been taken regarding our colonies. Our demand is that we should be included in the PM-UDAY scheme. We have written to the Prime Minister’s Office, housing and urban affairs ministry and DDA in this regard to expedite the process,” said Raman Aggarwal, president of 69 colonies welfare association (association of residential colonies that were not included in the Pradhan Mantri-Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi Awas Adhikar Yojana).
HS Bhalla, president of Western Avenue Residential Welfare Association at Sainik Farms, said the neighbourhood came into existence in the 60s where defence personnel constructed their houses. In the subsequent years, several colonies, mainly having farmhouses, have come up on agricultural land around it.
“Our colonies are located on private agricultural land. Most of the 69 colonies, which have been termed ‘affluent’ by the government, are located on private agricultural land. When the government is giving ownership rights to other colonies, which are on agricultural land, then why not us?” said Bhalla.
He added, “We have waited for long to get ownership of our properties. All that they have to do is to add a slab for plots, which are bigger than 250 sq.m. If the government includes these 69 colonies in the ownership process, it will get a lot of revenue which it can use in the development of other 1,700-odd colonies.”
The DDA, which is the nodal agency for implementation of the PM-UDAY scheme, said a decision regarding these colonies will be taken by the Centre. “We are currently streamlining the system to expedite the process to give ownership rights to 1,700-plus unauthorised colonies. We keep getting representations from these colonies regarding ownership rights. But the decision has to be taken at the central government’s level,” said a senior DDA official.
The housing and urban affairs ministry did not comment on the matter.
These residential colonies also want the government to do away with the “affluent unauthorised colonies” categorisation.
Vani Aggarwal, general secretary of New RWA Chattarpur Phase-II, said, “The affluent tag should be removed. Some of the plots in our area are 150sq.m or small. All the 1,797 colonies should be treated at par. We want the government to give us ownership rights so that we can get our building plans sanctioned and ensure planned development in the future.”
Residents have also approached the South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri to take up the matter with the Centre.
Bidhuri said, “I have written to the ministry of housing and urban affairs in this regard. The matter is under consideration. The government will address their concerns in the new Master Plan of Delhi.”