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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

‘Ownership rights soon for residents of unauthorised colonies’: Arvind Kejriwal

The cut-off date for properties to be covered for ownership rights in unauthorised colonies will be January 1, 2015.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2019 10:53 IST
Abhishek Dey and Anisha Dutta
Abhishek Dey and Anisha Dutta
New Delhi
Arvind Kejriwal said that on November 2, 2015, the Delhi cabinet had approved a proposal to regularise unauthorised colonies and give ownership rights to people living in these colonies.
Arvind Kejriwal said that on November 2, 2015, the Delhi cabinet had approved a proposal to regularise unauthorised colonies and give ownership rights to people living in these colonies.(HT Photo)

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Thursday that residents of unauthorised colonies in Delhi will soon get ownership of their properties, hinting at a possible resolution of a politically sensitive issue that has dragged on for over a decade.

The move involves legal approval from the Union government, which the chief minister said was expected “very soon” since the central ministry had conveyed a “positive response” to a proposal sent by his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in 2015.

“I’m happy to announce that a very positive reply to the proposal was received by us from the Centre on Wednesday. The Centre is ready to regularise the unauthorised colonies. I want to thank the Centre on the behalf of the Delhi people,” the chief minister said at a press conference.

Delhi’s urban development minister Satyendar Jain said that according to the Delhi government’s proposal, 1,797 colonies are to be regularised and the cutoff date — the period till which constructions will be considered legal — for registry of properties will be January 1, 2015.

Illegal neighbourhoods have mushroomed in the national Capital in tandem with a rise in popu-

lation. These were agricultural land, government land, or areas not meant to be used as residence according to zooming laws. In 2018, the Delhi Economic Survey estimated at least 5.5 million were living in 1,797 such colonies. In 1962, such settlements were pegged at 110, with 221,000 residents.

Regularising such colonies

will give these residents ownership titles and pave the way for installation of essential services such as sewage and water pipeline — many such colonies at present use septic tanks and water tankers instead.

Union urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri confirmed that his department was working on the process, but suggested there had been differences with the Delhi government. “He [Kejriwal] is quoting from a Cabinet note, they [Delhi government] have said no to it earlier and we are going ahead with this in spite of that,” Puri said, without elaborating on the disagreement or timelines.

A senior Union urban development ministry official, asking not to be named, said the Cabinet note being referred to was a draft circulated among all stakeholders. “We have sent the note to all stakeholders for comments followed by which we will send it to the Cabinet. The same copy of the Cabinet note was also sent to Delhi government,” this person added.

The legalisation process first began in 2008, when the Congressled government agreed to a longstanding demand ahead of elections. It got a renewed push in 2015, when the Centre and the Delhi government decided to extend the cut-off date from February 7, 2007, to January 1, 2015, resulting in an increase in the number of unauthorised colonies from 1,218 to 1,797.

“On November 2, 2015, the Delhi cabinet approved the proposal and on November 12, 2015, it was communicated to the central government for approval. The Union government’s communication was in response to that,” Kejriwal said on Thursday.

According to Kejriwal, the central government has asked few “questions” on the proposal, which he said the Delhi government will provide in 3-4 days. “And soon, the central government will approve it [the proposal],” said Kejriwal, without elaborating on what the queries were.

“We have asked concerned departments to get ready for a mass registration process. If needed, we will also organise camps for helping people,” the chief minister said.

On March 8 this year, the Union cabinet formed a 10-member committee under Delhi’s lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal to comment on the process of granting ownership and transfer rights. The union ministry official quoted above said that the cabinet note was prepared on the basis of the report by the committee.

According to the committee’s report, however, three colonies — Sainik Farms, Mahindra Enclave and Anant Ram Dairy — will be exempted as they are “inhabited by affluent sections of the society”.

In the draft note, the Centre has suggested divisional commissioners of the revenue department of the Delhi government to be empowered to provide a “one time exemption” with regard to documents for the purpose of registration and for stamp duty.

Such exemption will mean residents would have to produce fewer documents compared to the regular processes of applying for ownership and transfer in authorised colonies.

An exemption in stamp duty will mean that even if a property has been sold and purchased multiple times, the stamp duty for registration purpose would be imposed as a percentage of the latest transaction value.

Jain confirmed some of the details but refrained from disclosing further information.

First Published: Jul 18, 2019 15:30 IST

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