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'Regularising unauthorised colonies will lead to development challenges'

NEW DELHI: The 1,797 unauthorised colonies of Delhi, which comprise of a large section of the urban population, may finally be regularised but the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee has opined that it would lead to development challenges. Recently, the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced his government's decision to finally authorise these colonies, and the Centre too echoed the same opinion.

However, the monitoring committee feels that regularising these colonies, comprising disorganized apartments, would lead to development challenges, as many of them lack basic services like running water supply and almost no sewage system. The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), which is preparing the 2041 Master Plan for Delhi, is in the process of bringing these colonies under the purview of this plan. This master plan is a 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 unauthorised colonies should not be seen as encroachers, and they should not be ignored, when planning for future development.

"The Master Plan for Delhi (MPD), 2041 is bound to address the issues of the unauthorised 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 Central and Delhi government. In a report filed in the top court earlier this month, the committee concluded that unauthorised 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. In effect, these colonies are not considered spaces for clean and healthy living.

Atul Goel, President of United Residents Joint Action of Delhi (URJA) said, "There should be a policy decision on regularisation. Accordingly, the authorities concerned can conduct local surveys in these unauthorised colonies, mapping the requirement for basic infrastructure. The civic agencies should not waste any time and submit their report for Master Plan 2041."

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