Centre will regularise colonies in 6 months: BJP
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.