Rawat govt continues with Cong’s move to regularise slums
“In the Opposition, the BJP had criticized our (Congress government’s) plan and now they are working on the same with an eye on the civic polls due in the state early next year,” said former Congress MLA Rajkumar, the chairperson of the slum reforms committee.Updated: Sep 02, 2017 20:53 IST
Dehradun: While it has scrapped many of its predecessor’s schemes, the BJP government is continuing with the former Congress government’s plans on at least one front, that of regularising slums in the state.
The previous government led by former chief minister Harish Rawat had promised ownership rights to slum dwellers on their current areas of the residence and was working to implement it at the time of going to state elections earlier this year, and now the BJP government has started working in this direction.
According to sources, state’s urban development department has asked all the district magistrates to send in details of slums located in their respective areas, after which the process of regularisation is likely to be initiated.
Last year, the then Congress government had announced to regularise most of the slums in the hill state by providing ownership rights to slum dwellers, which was also one of its pre (2012) poll promises. In fact, a special body ‘Uttarakhand slum reforms committee’ set up by the Congress government had also recommended that all slums where water and electricity supply and other basic amenities existed, should be regularised immediately.
The Congress alleged that the BJP government’s move was politically motivated and that the ruling party was looking to “gain benefits” in the next year’s local body polls. “In the Opposition, the BJP had criticized our (Congress government’s) plan and now they are working on the same with an eye on the civic polls due in the state early next year,” said former Congress MLA Rajkumar (who goes by his first name), the chairperson of the slum reforms committee.
According to the committee’s official report, there are over 582 slums in Uttarakhand, housing over 7.7 lakh people and at least 46% of them are located on land owned by urban local bodies or state or central governments. However, experts feel that the actual numbers can be higher.
When contacted, urban development minister Madan Kaushik confirmed that the government was looking to regularise the slums and that the DMs had been asked to submit details and finalise the process in a month’s time.
“We have divided slums into three broad categories. First, which can be easily regularised, second, which have some issues but can be resolved by the government and third, which involve complex issues. We’re focusing to regularise the first two categories on a priority basis,” said Kaushik.
Refuting the Congress’ allegations, however, Kaushik said that the government’s only aim was to ensure welfare of the poor people. “Who are they (Congress) to question us? If they were so serious about the slum dwellers’ welfare, why did they not execute the plan in their tenure? Who stopped them from working on it?” said Kaushik. He also added that the BJP government had notified a slum policy which promised regularisation or rehabilitation of slums as and where required in 2011.