Challenges of regularising Delhi’s unauthorized colonies

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New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) The 1,797 unauthorized colonies, which house nearly 70 per cent of the population in Delhi, may be finally regularised but the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee opines that it would lead to development challenges.

Recently, the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced his government’s decision to finally authorize these colonies, and the Centre too echoed the same opinion.

However, the monitoring committee feels that regularizing these colonies, comprising disorganized apartments, would lead to development challenges, as many of these colonies lack running water supply and almost all lack sewage system.

The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), which is preparing the 2041 master plan, is in the process of bringing these colonies under the plan. The master plan is the blueprint for urban development, which lays down guidelines for building — homes, commercial spaces, schools and industry specific zones. According to an official at NIUA, the residents of the unauthorized colonies should not be looked as encroachers, and they will not be ignored, when planning for future development.

“The master plan Delhi (MPD) 2041 is bound to address the issues of the unauthorized colonies. In fact, we are working to provide the people in these colonies with basic amenities,” said an official familiar with the development.

The Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee has views diametrically opposite to the Centre and Delhi government. In a report filed in the top court earlier this month, the committee concluded that unauthorized colonies, each having nearly 40 Lakh people, do not find any mention in the 2021 master plan for Delhi. Reportedly, these colonies have been referred as the cluster assorted buildings without any provision utilities like – water, electricity, hygiene, sanitation etc., Overall, these colonies are not considered spaces for clean and healthy living.

Speaking to IANS Atul Goel President, and United Residents Joint Action of Delhi (URJA), said: “There should policy decision on regularization. Accordingly the authorities concerned can conduct local surveys in these unauthorized colonies mapping the requirement for basic infrastructure. The civic agencies should not waste any time and submit their report for Masterplan 2041.”

The committee’s report point at a stark reality there is no space for laying additional sewer lines. The report also claimed that sewer lines can be laid down in not more than 30 colonies each year, which would 50 years for Delhi Jal Board to complete the process of developing sewage system for 1,797 colonies earmarked to be regularised.

According to high-placed official in Delhi Jal Board, as per the MPD-2021 out of 567 unauthorized regularized colonies, which were regularized in 1993, sewer lines have been laid in 482 colonies and 85 colonies are part of the backlog.

“The Master Plan of Delhi 2021 provides for regularization of unauthorized colonies. The final decision as regards the regularization of the colonies has to be taken by Centre and state government and both have agreed already subject to the policy to be finalized. But, the policy decision of regularization shall be subject to final adjudication before the Supreme Court on the issues of its legality,” said Puneet Sharma, advocate-on-record in Supreme Court.

(Sumit saxena can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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