12,000 properties in Delhi's refugee colonies might be sealed

Gogona Saikia

12,000 properties in Delhi

21 Mar 2018: 12,000 properties in Delhi's refugee colonies might be sealed

After sealing several complexes violating norms in Delhi, authorities have now turned their focus to residential refugee colonies.

A monitoring committee appointed by the SC has identified at least 12,000 properties in 45 refugee colonies like Kalkaji, Lajpat Nagar and Mukherjee Nagar, where commercial activities are allegedly being conducted against rules.

Violations include land misuse, encroachment and running establishments on non-notified areas.

Refugee colonies: Delhi's refugee colonies date back to the Partition in 1947

These 45 residential colonies in Delhi, meant for refugees from Pakistan, came up on land provided on lease by the Ministry of Rehabilitation in 1947. In 1950, they were transferred to the Land and Development Office (L&DO).

Initially, they were basic, with asbestos roofs and bathrooms shared between households.

Over the years, well-off families settled in the areas and luxurious flats came up.

Drive: Officials discovered violations in colonies during Lajpat Nagar sealing drive

A member of the committee said they carried out a sealing drive in Old Double Storey in Lajpat Nagar-IV on March 8.

Then they received complaints about similar violations in other colonies too.

"This led us to conduct random visits and gather details from L&DO office," the official said, adding they have detected violations, mostly encroachment, in "at least 24 blocks of Amar Colony."

Lajpat Nagar: Details about the violations

"As per original lease deed, each block has 64 flats meant for residential purposes. But a majority of people have opened shop in these flats illegally and encroached 15-20ft public land in the backyard as well as the front," the official explained.

"In addition, space provided for common facilities like public washrooms, parks and recreation centre have also been misused for running commercial activities."

Fact: Sealing expected to start anytime this month

The committee is now waiting for official documents from the L&DO office, post which sealing is expected to start this month itself. Till now, at least 3,500 properties have been sealed in Delhi's ongoing sealing drive that started in December.