Cen­tre will reg­u­larise colonies in 6 months: BJP

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: Delhi BJP chief Manoj Ti­wari on Wed­nes­day said that the NDA-led cen­tral govern­ment will en­sure that the cap­i­tal’s unau­tho­rised colonies get reg­u­larised within the next six months.

Talk­ing to re­porters, Ti­wari said the Cen­tre is of the view that the lakhs of peo­ple liv­ing in unau­tho­rised colonies get own­er­ship of their houses and all ba­sic ameni­ties at the ear­li­est. He added that the BJP lead­er­ship has di­rected the Delhi unit to con­duct a sur­vey and take feed­back of the res­i­dents of unau­tho­rised colonies.

“Delhi BJP lead­ers will visit unau­tho­rised colonies on Septem­ber 22 in 22 assem­bly seg­ments to take feed­back from peo­ple. We will ex­pose the Ke­jri­wal govern­ment, which has failed to reg­u­larise these set­tle­ments de­spite be­ing in power for nearly five years. In the next one month, se­nior Delhi BJP lead­ers and elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives will visit all assem­bly seg­ments and tell peo­ple how the AAP govern­ment has done lit­tle on the is­sue,” Ti­wari said.

Reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion of unau­tho­rised colonies has been a ma­jor poll plank in the cap­i­tal. In 2008, the in­cum­bent Congress govern­ment had is­sued pro­vi­sional reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion cer­tifi­cates to 1,218 unau­tho­rised colonies ahead of the assem­bly polls and com­fort­ably got elected for the third term in of­fice. It again be­came an is­sue in the 2013 and 2015 assem­bly polls.

Dur­ing the last Lok Sabha poll, CM Arvind Ke­jri­wal had al­leged that the Naren­dra Modi govern­ment had “planned to de­mol­ish” the colonies. With the 2020 assem­bly elec­tions just a few months away, the pol­i­tics around 1,797 unau­tho­rised colonies has again picked pace.

In July, Ke­jri­wal had said that res­i­dents of such colonies would soon get own­er­ship rights as the Cen­tre had ac­cepted Delhi govern­ment’s pro­posal on reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion. “More than two months have passed since Ke­jri­wal an­nounced that reg­is­tra­tion of prop­er­ties in unau­tho­rised colonies will be­gin soon. He should tell what has been done dur­ing this pe­riod,” Ti­wari said.

The civic body’s own au­dit re­port on the project later sheep­ishly ad­mit­ted that the cor­po­ra­tion’s en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment should have taken “per­mis­sion of the rail­ways be­fore start­ing the work”. In March 2012, the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment claimed MCD held the land on lease, but the rail­way au­thor­i­ties re­torted by pur­su­ing the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion to sub­mit the said lease pa­pers and lease pay­ment doc­u­ments, which the lat­ter was un­able to pro­vide.

Hope for the Andha Mughal school isn’t dead yet. The north cor­po­ra­tion stand­ing com­mit­tee chair­per­son Jai Prakash told TOI that they will sort mat­ters out with rail­ways. “The rail­way min­is­ter will visit the area soon and we will dis­cuss the project with him.” He said, if al­lowed to, the cor­po­ra­tion could com­plete the struc­ture with a small in­jec­tion of funds.

As hap­pens in many govern­ment cases, the mat­ter has re­mained in cold stor­age, not helped by the tri­fur­ca­tion of MCD in 2012, upon which the un­der-con­struc­tion school landed with the North Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion. Since 2014, North­ern Rail­way has not in­ter­fered in the mat­ter ex­cept to say that no fur­ther con­struc­tion can take place. Given the lack of progress, in De­cem­ber 2016, the project di­vi­sion of its Sadar-Pa­har­ganj zone pro­posed the ces­sa­tion of the project and asked, with­out the rail­way’s con­sent, the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment to take over the struc­ture.

The work on the school build­ing had be­gun in July 2009, and an initial in­stal­ment of Rs 25 lakh of the Rs 94.5 lakh bud­get was re­leased to the pri­vate con­trac­tor for con­struc­tion in March 2010. In Jan­uary 2017, six years af­ter ces­sa­tion of con­struc­tion, the then north cor­po­ra­tion com­mis­sioner ap­proved the clo­sure “with­out even get­ting the mat­ter set­tled with the rail­way au­thor­ity”. While ask­ing the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment to take over the school, the civic body re­leased Rs 38 lakh in to­tal pay­ment for the project, an amount the auditors termed as “waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture”.

For five years, the only four rooms with roofs have been home to se­cu­rity guard Govind Ram and his fam­ily. Ram wist­fully told TOI, “I keep hop­ing the con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity will res­tart but it never does.”

In replies to the au­dit depart­ment, the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment said that two meet­ings were held in 2018 by the ad­di­tional com­mis­sioner, ed­u­ca­tion, where it was de­cided that though the struc­ture could not be used as a school, it could be em­ployed to store ma­te­ri­als be­long­ing to the pub­lic health or the main­te­nance de­part­ments. The auditors re­sponded that the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment’s re­ply that the ex­pen­di­ture in­curred on the in­com­plete struc­ture was be­yond their con­trol” was “not ac­cept­able”.

An of­fi­cial said the mat­ter would be fur­ther dis­cussed.

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