BJP-AAP war of words in RS over bill on unauthorised colonies

New Delhi, Dec 4 (PTI) Rajya Sabha on Wednesday witnessed a war of words between the BJP and AAP during the debate on the bill to grant ownership rights to people living in unauthorised colonies in Delhi.

Both sides exchanged barbs and the house witnessed brief interruptions, forcing Satya Narayan Jatia, who was presiding over the proceedings, to stand twice to pacify the members.

The Upper House was discussing the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019, which was passed by a voice vote. The Lok Sabha has already passed it last week.

During the debate, BJP member Vijay Goel alleged that the the AAP government did not cooperate with the Centre on the issue of regularisation and delayed it.

He cited a letter by the Centre to the Delhi government dated May 31, 2017 to make boundaries and layouts of the unauthorised colonies, and said that the AAP government had replied that 'we cannot do it till July 2019'.

'The Centre through the Urban Development Ministry again wrote a letter to Delhi government to fix the development charges but they did not...,' said Goel.

AAP member Sanjay Singh protested against Goel's remarks and accused the BJP leader of misguiding the House by giving false information. He was supported by other members of AAP in Rajya Sabha.

After this, the House witnessed a minor disruption and Jatia asked both the sides to stay calm and speak only when their turn comes.

Goel said that in coming days the government has plans to give houses to 20 lakh people living in jhuggis in Delhi 'We have already started survey in 162 jhuggi colonies, which are settled on DDA land. Those who will fill the form would get a two bedroom flats,' he said.

Referring to the 200 units of free electricity given to Delhi residents, Goel said that the Delhi government is also giving 'free pollution along with that to the citizens'.

'When the government does not work for five years, then it has to come out with five-page-long newspapers ads and has to give free doles,' said Goel.

AAP's Sanjay Singh said that the Centre chose to bring the bill when Delhi assembly elections were nearing. He questioned the intention of the government and expressed apprehensions that the process of regularisation may not be completed.

'When Delhi elections are approaching, you are considering the proposal for unauthorised colonies,' he said.

Singh said that as per media reports, the government would take 180 days to grant the ownership rights.

'After 180 days election would be over and you are not going to even think about the unauthorised colonies,' he said.

He said the government is saying that it would give registration papers to just 100 property owners only before assembly elections.

Replying to the debate, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri expressed dismay that in 2015 the AAP Government had promised in its action plan that they would regularise these unauthorised colonies within one year of taking charge of Delhi Government but did not do so.

Dola Sen of Trinamool Congress said that Delhi should be governed by the government elected by the people of city.

She also alleged that the DDA gives land only to the ruling party and her party is not getting land for its office despite paying money.

Samajwadi Party's Javed Ali Khan said that although this bill has been brought with a political intention, he would support it as it would grant ownership rights to the people of Delhi.

He also suggested that the Centre cooperate and work with the Delhi government on the issue.

Amar Patnaik of BJD said that government should also study similar steps taken in some developing economies as Cambodia, Argentina and Peru where large number of unauthorised colonies were regularised.

R S Bharathi of DMK also supported the bill.

V Vijay Sai Reddy of YSRCP said the bill would help 40-50 lakh people as then can avail loans by mortgaging their properties.

However, he also suggested appointment of a quasi judicial authority to settle the disputes, which may arise during the process.

Binoy Viswam of CPI also supported the bill and said that migration from rural areas has increased as the economy in distress due to 'poor policies' of the government.

Congress' Kumari Selja, who initiated the debate on behalf of opposition party, said that the bill is a 'political stunt and drama' and questioned the intention of the Centre.

She asked as why this bill was not brought in last five year and only when the election in Delhi is approaching.

Selja also suggested that the government tackle the issue of migration to cities from rural pockets through an advance plan.

Bhupender Yadav of the BJP said the bill would have a far reaching impact on 40 to 50 lakh people of Delhi residing in these unauthorised colonies as it would not only grant them ownership right of their property but they also can avail other facilities such as water and sewage connections and other amenities.

Taking a dig at the AAP government, Yadav alleged that Kejriwal dispensation has not taken any punitive steps to check the water tanker mafia in the city.

Ram Nath Thakur of JD(U), S R Balasubramoniyan of AIDMK, Manoj Kr Jha of RJD and Ashok Siddharth of BSP also participated in the debate and supported the bill. PTI KRH RT RT