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One gone,11 more to go; Colony No. 4 could be next in line

UT Administration to soon discuss plan to demolish these colonies that cover around 70 acres of land.

Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Chandigrah |
November 25, 2013 1:37:48 am

After the demolition of Colony No. 5,there are now 11 colonies in the city that were set up over the years by encroaching on government land. These colonies collectively cover around 70 acres of land in different parts of Chandigarh. A plan for demolishing these colonies in a phased manner will be prepared by the UT Administration in the coming days.

“There are 11 colonies that are still left in different areas. These cover around 70 acres of land in Chandigarh. The plan for demolishing these would be discussed shortly,” says UT Assistant Estate Officer Rahul Gupta.

The biggest among the existing colonies is Colony No. 4. Likely to be the next in line for demolition,it is situated in Industrial Area,Phase I. A list of beneficiaries to be allotted tenements under the slum rehabilitation scheme has been prepared. Once the allotment of the tenements is done,the colony will be demolished.

One of the flaws in the design of Chandigarh is stated to be lack of provision for housing for the economically weaker sections. With the city having been built from scratch,the migrants who came here as labourers set up their houses wherever they could find space. These migrants,however,used to pay a nominal rent before they were allotted houses. Amongst the earliest houses given under rehabilitation were at Dadumajra and Ramdarbar in the late 1970s.

Later,however,land that was acquired by the administration for development projects across the city was encroached upon. A blind eye was turned to sprouting of the colonies. Once these became important votebanks with hundreds of people staying in one place,there was resistance from political parties to demolish the illegal hutments till people are rehabilitated.

Former mayor and chairperson of Social Welfare Board Kamlesh says,“The city cannot be slum-free till certain steps are taken by the administration. There is a need for providing some accommodation on temporary basis for migrants who come here to find work. This will ensure that they do not encroach upon land. The growth of illegal jhuggis should be stopped in the initial stages. The officials,however,turn a blind eye to this.”

Several schemes have been floated by the administration over the years for the purpose of rehabilitating slum dwellers. However,the problem continues to persist. It is now being expected that with the allotment of houses being constructed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM),the city would become slum-free. During his recent visit to Chandigarh,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also expressed hope that Chandigarh would become the first slum-free city in the country.

Senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan feels it is the half-hearted approach of the administration that is to be blamed. “There has to be a comprehensive plan for rehabilitation. Bureaucrats are posted in the city for three years and then transferred. There is a lack of continuity. Rehabilitation is done in a half-hearted manner. Some are allotted houses,others are left out. In this manner the problem will not end as people will find space to set up a house,” he says.

One-room tenements are ready for allotment at Mauli Jagran where some

of the residents of the colonies will be shifted. A tender for construction of more than 5,000 two-room flats at Maloya under the rehabilitation scheme has been approved by the Chandigarh Housing Board. The construction is likely to start in the coming days.

REHABILITATION SCHEMES<\b>

The UT Administration has been rehabilitating migrants since the late 1970s. The migrants who had come to the city and were paying rent were allotted houses in Ramdarbar and Dadumajra. These are now three-storeyed buildings putting pressure on the infrastructure that was not fit to cater to three times the population. Houses have been allotted under several schemes,including Indira Awas Yojna and Ambedkar Awas Yojna. Currently,tenements are being constructed with funds under JNNURM. These have been allotted in sectors 38 (W) and 49. After Union Minister Kumari Selja raised objections to the design of the one-room tenements,plans have now been approved for two-room flats.

COMMERCIAL AREA TO COME UP<\b>

A commercial area is proposed to be developed on the land vacated by demolishing Colony No. 5. Similar to the development on Madhya Marg,a shopping complex would be provided. As per the draft Master Plan 2031,mixed land use is proposed for the area. Apart from commercial,residential and institutional complexes could be developed.

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