Rajya Sabha passes bill to protect unauthorised colonies in Delhi

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New Delhi, Feb 9 (PTI) The Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday passed the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to regularise unauthorised colonies in Delhi.

The bill replaces the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind on December 30, 2020 to extend the validity of the act of 2011 for a period of three years from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023.

'1.35 crore people of Delhi, those living in unauthorised colonies, will get their ownership right,' Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said in Rajya Sabha.

The bill provides protection to certain forms of unauthorised developments in Delhi from punitive action where adequate measures are yet to be taken.

Puri said that tenders have been floated for 'Jahan Jhuggi Wahan Makaan'.

'Delhi will not only benefit from the improvement in living conditions of 1.35 crore people but the Central Vista project will also make Delhi one of the finest cities in the world,' Puri said.

The minister said that the number of 1.35 crore is expected in the next census later this year. CPI (M) MP Bikash Ranjan said, 'Is it an ordinance raj that we are living in? The bill has such a laudable purpose but it has not been executed. Why has it not been executed within time is not explained. The ordinance was brought in just a day before the terminal period of the earlier bill. Repeatedly extension through ordinance is condemnable.' Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh said that as informed in the house 40 lakh people live in slums.

He said that the government had promised last year that people in unauthorised colonies will be given ownership rights and demanded that it should be executed now.

Before moving the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Puri said the government would have brought a law had there been a Winter Session of Parliament.

'The urgency was that if we had not enacted in the interim period, the process of sealing, demolition, etc would have started. I am sure no member of this House would like Delhi to be subjected to that kind of uncertainty and chaos,' he said.

The bill aims to extend the validity of NCT Delhi special provisions for three years from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023, he added.

The minister shared that in 2006, Parliament had enacted Delhi laws special provisions Act to protect certain forms of encroachment and unauthorised development from punitive action namely demolition, sealing and displacement etc.

'These provisions were on previous occasion extended through various ordinances and acts in 2007, 2009, 2014 and 2017,' he said.

Stating that there has been a sharp rise in population in Delhi from 8 lakh in 1947 to 1.6 crore in 2011, the minister said, 'Exponential growth has led to serious stretch on resources leading to vast gaps in demand and supply.' However, the government has followed a three-pronged approach to address the urbanisation needs of Delhi through three schemes that will benefit a total of 1.35 crore citizens, he said.

About 50 lakh people are expected to benefit from the Pradhan Mantri Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi Awas Adhikar Yojana (PM-UDAY), 10 lakh people from Jaha Jhuggi Wahi Makan' under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and 75 lakh people from land pooling which are under various stages of implementation, he added.

Highlighting the progress made under these schemes, the minister said the PM-UDAY was launched at end of 2019. 'Inspite of the fact that we lost one year due to the pandemic, I am happy to inform that 3,82,499 registrations have been done. Authorisation and conveyance receipts have been issued to 4,035 households.' Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has also finalised controlled norms which are expected to trigger redevelopment in these colonies, he said, adding that JJ clusters in Kalkaji Extension, Jallianwala Bagh and Kathputli colony are are in advanced stages of completion Participating in the debate, CPI leader Binay Viswam expressed concern over the ordinance route being adopted by the government bypassing Parliament and taking away people's right.

He requested the Chair to give 'strict instruction' to the government to not make ordinance route a practice.

Congress leader K T S Tulsi said over 30 per cent of Delhi population lives in slums or unauthorised colonies and asked the government if it would make an effort to find a solution to this problem and provide a life of dignity in the city.

He said there can be a beginning of a solution if the government adopts the United Nation's target given to developing nations to set up cities without slums.

Expressing concern over slow progress made in implementation of smart cities and PM-UDAY, Tulsi said, 'If priorities were right, instead of spending Rs 20,000 crore on Central Vista, the government could have built housing colonies and given 1 crore houses with this money.' BSP MP Ramji requested the government to identify Dalits living in slums in Delhi and provide them houses with basic amenities. He also asked the government to ensure that land mafias are not benefitted from implementation of the bill.

BJD MP Amar Patnaik, YSRCP MP Subhash Chandra Bose Pilli, Samajwadi Party notMP Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, DMK MP M Shanmugam, TRS MP Banda Prakash, BJP leader Ashok Bajpai and Anil Agarwal also participated in the debate. PTI PRS PRS AAR AAR