Regularise to earn
With South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) finally giving its nod to a hitherto illegal farmhouse in Capital’s Rajokri area, a fresh lease of life has been breathed into the city’s highly deregulated and unorganised housing sector. Regularisation of unauthorised colonies has been in the pipeline for some years now, with Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government having made several promises to bring this goal to fruition. Inasmuch as SDMC has earned Rs 66 lakh from the procedural act, regularisation of illegal colonies and residential complexes as well standalone mansions and farmhouses is a sureshot way of notching up revenues in an open and accountable manner. Moreover, this is an effective way to curb the aggressive builders’ lobby, and its insiders within the bureaucracy, which makes unbelievable amount of money through underhand deals and backchannel negotiations, thereby adding more to the black market and straining the state exchequer. SDMC has shown the way for other municipal bodies to emulate and earn revenues, which can be channelised to shore up civic amenities in the city, which, despite interventions in the wake of 2010 Commonwealth Games and partially botched attempts to turn Delhi into an infrastructural marvel overnight, lie in utter neglect. Despite earlier waves of regularisation, a coherent and systematic approach has been sorely lacking. In 1993, there was a court order restraining Delhi government from issuing provisional certificates to unauthorised colonies, and it was only in 2007 that government framed guidelines and placed them before the court. Given that applications from hundreds of colonies lie in waiting, a firm and fast implementation of rules to regularise would benefit everyone, from residents, to owners and government authorities.