By BS Reporter
Hundreds of acres of encroached land, originally owned by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and the forest department in Delhi, will be regularised, but it is still unclear whether the cost of the land will be recovered from the encroachers.
With an eye on assembly polls later this year, the Delhi government today gave an in-principle approval for regularisation of over 200 unauthorised colonies in the city to pave the way for their development.
A meeting of the Delhi Cabinet, presided over by chief minister Sheila Dikshit, approved the long-pending proposal to regularise the settlements, which were given provisional regularisation certificates in 2008.
Over 1,639 unauthorised colonies were given provisional certificates ahead of the assembly polls in 2008. The then Dikshit government, while distributing the certificates, had promised to regularise the colonies if the Congress came to power for the third term.
After the Congress' defeat in municipal polls in April, Dikshit had asked all departments to expedite the regularisation process.
Out of the 205 colonies, officials said 157 came up partly on forest land, while 48 settlements have encroached land belonging to ASI. The government decided to regularise the colonies after getting clearance from forest department and ASI, they said.
The government in September had regularised 895 unauthorised colonies, which are home to around 3.5 million people. The Cabinet has also decided to immediately start developmental works in all the colonies which have been regularised. “We will come out with a list of the 205 colonies, which have been given approval for regularisation by the cabinet, within 15 days,” said Delhi minister Arvinder Singh Lovely.
The government has already asked all the three municipal corporations to take the help of professional architects in making the layout plans for the colonies which were already regularised.
Assembly polls in Delhi are scheduled for December.
In September last year, the Delhi High Court had dismissed a plea questioning the power of the central government, Delhi government and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to regularise the capital's unauthorised colonies.
“We do not interfere with government decisions. No interim relief can be granted. Application dismissed,” said a division bench of acting chief justice A K Sikri and justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, while refusing to stay the regularisation process.
The petition, filed by architect and town planner H R Suri, sought the court's direction to the Delhi government stopping it from implementing its decision to regularise 917 unauthorised colonies in the national capital.
“Restrain all respondents from making any declaration or pass any order or give any direction regarding regularisation of unauthorised colonies in the NCT (National Capital Territory) of Delhi in any manner and by any means during pendency of the petition," the petitioner had said. With the dismissal of the plea, the government’s task of regularising more colonies was made easier.