Top
Millennium Post

A very welcome move

A very welcome move

In the vast city of migrants that Delhi is, survival and settlement have always been a challenge for many. Historical times divided the expanse of this territory into new and old, demarcating a modern settlement designed by Lutyens which has come to be the pretty face of Delhi. But behind and all around the grandeur of the central part of the city, Delhi has sheltered refugees and labours of all kinds who sought only a place. Thus mushroomed unplanned settlements and unauthorised colonies which are as much a part of Delhi as its lush and posh areas are. The Union government has taken a commendable step for forty lakh people living in unauthorised colonies in Delhi who can now take loans to construct homes in the colonies and have ownership rights. Close to 1,800 colonies have been marked for this big move. "Ownership rights will be conferred to people who are living there, whether they are on private or government land," said Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri. Definitely this comes as a major relief and as an occasion to celebrate as people can go ahead and make their own homes in these colonies. Without a doubt a "far-sighted, progressive, revolutionary step" for Delhi since Independence, as the Union minister put it, this move opens up the pathways to better local development in a holistic manner complete with all the requisite amenities. Described as a "historic" decision, this also comes at a time when few months later, Delhi will vote for a new Assembly and has predictably set off a fight for credit between the Central establishment and Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which accuses the BJP of blocking most of its plans for development. Of course, the electoral aspect of this decision stands denied. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expressed that "This is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's thinking, that we can do this. This is not politics...the people will get parks, electricity and a sewer system". The Union Urban Minister explains that the decision has been made to "ameliorate" the lives of people living in pathetic conditions, that "Since 2008, the Delhi government has not done anything. This government would have taken till 2021," he said. While this also points towards the possibility of one government trying to score points over another, the reality remains clear and undenied that the Delhi government has worked commendably to make the life of a common resident in Delhi better, and that this move of the Central government will certainly help them perform better.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal went on to explain that his government had invested much work and funds into these colonies. "We didn't wait for all this colonies to be legal. They lived in inhuman conditions. We invested Rs 6,000 crore and water, drains and sewer work was done in these colonies," he said. Looking forward to the beginning of the process of regularisation of unauthorised colonies at the earliest the Union Cabinet prepared the roadmap for the colonies based on the Delhi government's proposal earlier this year. In what looks like a heartening example of the Centre and state working in tandem towards general good and welfare, this decision stands out as a good example to emulate. Unauthorised colonies are the places where thousands of residents live without legal water or power connections and land rights and this has been a core theme for years for parties during elections in the capital. The colonies range from the densely-populated Jamia Nagar to the upscale Sainik Farms. Although the Centre-led BJP government and AAP-led Delhi government have been trading blame for the delay in regularising the colonies, in June, the Delhi government sent proposals to the Centre for regularising 1,797 colonies. The massive development that comes in the form of this decision will apply to colonies for the lower income groups and not to 69 affluent colonies identified by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), including Sainik Farms, Mahendru Enclave and Anantram Dairy. Definitely a pro-people move, prioritising the lesser well off in the city is in keeping with the constitutional ideals and also sets an inspiring standard of good politics. Since Delhi is a partial state, certain subjects, including decisions on land, come under the Central government. This combined effort of both the governments, thus is a truly democratic move. To formalise matters further, the Centre will bring a bill in the winter session of Parliament beginning November 18. With this initiative, major concerns faced by the residents of unauthorised colonies such as lack of ownership or transfer rights, provision of basic infrastructure and civic amenities will be addressed. Overall, this will be a much-needed first step to enable enduring development and quality living for the common people in the national capital. Apart from the matters of relief directly pertaining to the regularisation of unauthorised colonies, what stands out for greater significance is that the high rate of crime the city is known for, will likely reduce with the presence of solid system to address the concerns of the people. The national capital is said to be the face of a nation and making it good in real and quality sense will only reflect well on the nation.

Next Story
Share it