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Kejriwal questions BJP’s ‘sudden love’ for Delhi’s unauthorised colonies, calls it poll stunt

Releasing a set of data, Kejriwal said his government spent Rs 8,147 crore between 2015-19 in laying water and sewer lines and constructing roads in the city's 1797 unauthorised colonies - housing a roughly estimated population of 40-50 lakh.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi | Published: November 27, 2019 3:19:12 pm
Excluded from regularisation plan: Homes on Yamuna O-Zone, ASI land At Sangam Vihar, Delhi’s largest unauthorised colony. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

The BJP’s “sudden love” for people living in unauthorised colonies ahead of the assembly polls has been triggered by the development works in those settlements by the AAP government over the last five years, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Wednesday.

Kejriwal said media reports quoting officials that only 100 families living in unauthorised colonies would get ownership rights before the end of this year were an indication that the entire exercise would be nothing more than a photo-op ahead of the elections.

Releasing a set of data, Kejriwal said his government spent Rs 8,147 crore between 2015-19 in laying water and sewer lines and constructing roads in the city’s 1797 unauthorised colonies – housing a roughly estimated population of 40-50 lakh – as opposed to the expenditure of Rs 1186 crore between 2009-14 under the Sheila Dikshit government.

“The sudden love of the BJP for these colonies raise serious doubts. The BJP has realized that it is not in a position to enter these colonies to solicit votes. For the first time in 70 years, the discourse of an election campaign will be purely development work,” Kejriwal told a press conference.

On November 26, the Centre introduced a bill to grant ownership rights to those who own properties in the city’s unauthorised colonies in the Lok Sabha. The passage of the bill will be followed by acceptance of applications for registration, verification and issuance of conveyance deeds by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

DDA vice-chairman Traun Kapoor had on November 25 said that by December end, around 100 families will be given conveyance deeds, which are contracts recognised in the court of law, followed by registration by the revenue department of the Delhi government.

Kejriwal said it was a matter of satisfaction that the Centre has initiated the process of regularisation, “having sat on our Cabinet proposal dated November 12, 2015, for five years”, but the registration process be extended to all the families, instead of restricting it to a hundred-odd people.

“The news reports have triggered suspicion. Who are these 100 people? I demand that registry papers be given to all before the polls. Otherwise, this entire exercise will just be a photo op ahead of the polls, like similar instances in the past when provisional registration certificates were given before elections. That’s what the Congress used to do,” Arvind Kejriwal said.

“Once again, I want to tell people, don’t trust any promise unless you get the papers in hand. The Centre is delineating the boundaries of the colonies using satellite maps provided by us five years back. Why did they reject these maps in 2015? Why did they insist on physical verification back then? It’s just that people have started asking why did they not lay pipes or build roads like we did and they have nothing to show,” Kejriwal further said.

Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri had last week announced that the process of regularizing the colonies will be completed within three months, with the DDA launching a portal enabling people to file applications for ownership rights on December 16.

“Why three months? The registration certificates should be given within three days of applications,” Kejriwal said Wednesday.

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