New Delhi, Mar 10 (PTI) Over 1,700 unauthorised colonies in Delhi on Wednesday got protection from punitive action for another three years as Parliament passed the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
People living in unauthorised colonies play a vital role in deciding the fate of any political party during elections in the national capital.
With the passage of this bill, 1,731 identified unauthorised colonies will not face any strict action like demolition and sealing for illegal construction till December 2023.
While the Rajya Sabha had passed the bill on February 9, it sailed through the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri told the Lok Sabha that the bill would give protection to unauthorised colonies from sealing till December 31, 2023.
Earlier, these protections had been extended through ordinances and acts in 2007, 2009, 2014 and 2017.
Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta said through this bill, people living in these colonies have been provided a big relief.
'We thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for passing of the bill in Parliament. The residents of unauthorised colonies have been provided a big relief that they needed the most, he said.
The Aam Aadmi Party welcomed the extension of protection, but it said regularisation of these colonies must be done.
'We welcome the extension but regularisation of colonies must be done. The BJP promised to do that and is now back-tracking from it,' Durgesh Pathak, AAP leader and spokesperson, told PTI.
Delhi's unauthorised colonies are always at the centre of politics during elections in the national capital.
In elections, main rival political parties --- BJP, AAP and Congress --- try to woo the residents by making promises for them in their poll manifesto.
In the 2021-22 budget that was presented by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday, the Delhi government proposed to allocate Rs 1,550 crore for development work in unauthorised colonies in the city.
Sisodia also said that so far, construction work has been completed or is in progress in 1,345 out of 1,797 unauthorised colonies.
In 2019, the Union Cabinet had approved a proposal to grant ownership rights to people living in unauthorised colonies. Later, Parliament had passed a bill to grant ownership rights to the residents.
The central government had introduced Pradhan Mantri-Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi Awas Adhikar Yojana (PM-UDAY) under which people living in these colonies can apply for ownership rights of their properties.
The Delhi Development Authority has launched a website wherein residents of such colonies can apply for ownership rights under PM-UDAY. PTI BUN SNE