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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Bumpy road to being legal

With nearly 30 lakh residents in Delhi’s unauthorised colonies,the stakes over the regularisation process are very high,given that Assembly elections are due in November this year

Written by Pragya Kaushika |
June 14, 2013 1:40:34 am

With nearly 30 lakh residents in Delhi’s unauthorised colonies,the stakes over the regularisation process are very high,given that Assembly elections are due in November this year. For the Congress,which is gunning for a fourth consecutive term in office,and a desperate BJP,which controls the corporations,the regularisation of unauthorised colonies means assured electoral returns. A total of 895 colonies were notified as regularised in September 2012. PRAGYA KAUSHIKA & APURVA check how far the process has moved since then

41 years and waiting

Nearly 500 metres off the Grand Trunk Road and along a narrow path paved with stones is a small colony of 100 homes.

Until September 2012,Bhagwan Park did not figure anywhere on the realty map. But then it was notified as regularised by the Delhi government,and property rates soared — more so after the Standing Committee of North Municipal Corporation approved the layout plan of the colony.

For the residents,however,not much has changed in the past eight months. The government is still to make the notification public,giving the colony full status of unauthorised regularised colony. Until then,residents cannot get their properties registered.

Ganga Prasad Saini,RWA general secretary,says his house was registered in 1971 in his father’s name. “My house is crumbling and I cannot get it repaired because I still need to get my building plan passed. The building plan will be passed if the house is registered in my name and has the approval of the corporation. The standing committee has passed (the layout plan for the colony),but the notification from the government is yet to be issued to sub-registrars who will do the registration,” Saini says.

O P Bainsla,retired principal of a government school in Roop Nagar,says: “Only when the colony gets a certificate and is notified as regularised in the books of officials,we will see some changes in our surroundings. We have drains that are blocked. Regularisation of this colony will at least improve sanitary conditions.”

To resolve the issue of sanitation and choked drains,the RWA calls in private safai karmcharis. But when it rains,the colony roads turn into huge drains.

“We are the smallest colony in Delhi with an area of 2.5 acres. The houses here have 100 per cent built-up area. If we go by the building plans,we need to leave some vacant space,even if we have a small plot of 50 square yards,” Narender Singh,a property dealer,says.

But this has not stopped the property rates from escalating by 10 to 15 per cent. “The rates have definitely gone up. One change that has come about since the layout plan was cleared is that now floors are up for sale too. A floor with parking facility of 100 square yards used to cost Rs 30 lakh. It is now Rs 40 lakh,” Singh says.

2 colonies,1 fate

A few lanes in East Azad Nagar have taken on a strange name since they were left out of the main colony. Quite literally,the colony calls itself Left Out Part of East Azad Nagar and comprises 130 houses.

To correct the anomaly,the RWA of Left Out Part approached officials to get the colony regularised. That was when the government decided to take away the ‘left-out part’ status from the colony,include it in Azad Nagar and regularise the entire colony.

The layout plan for Azad Nagar has been cleared by the East Municipal Corporation,but the colony faces the same fate as Bhagwan Park.

Subhash Kohli,president of Left Out Part RWA,says registration of houses are still blocked.

“Despite not being in the records of the corporation,we paid conversion tax and other taxes. We were left out when Azad Nagar was included in government records. We approached the corporation to get us regularised,so we could get permission to build our houses. But now the layout plan is stuck,” Kohli says.

A surgeon and owner of Surya Hospital,Dr S N Mishra,says: “Whatever we have seen is pure political gimmickry. Congress and BJP are fighting to take credit for regularisation,but nothing has been done on ground.”

The layout plan is stuck as the corporation and the RWA cannot agree on the status of vacant plots. The layout plan approved by the standing committee shows four vacant plots in the area. Kohli points to one such ‘vacant’ plot,and it has a workshop.

“We cannot let officials take the homes of residents. How can I approve the map that the corporation sent us?”

The general secretary of Azad Nagar RWA,Praveen Wadhwan,is an angry man. He says East Azad Nagar’s request for regularisation led to stoppage of registration of properties in his colony.

“Earlier,we all used to get the properties registered. Now,the government has tagged us with East Azad Nagar and our fate depends on them,” Wadhwan says.

Property dealers in East Azad Nagar say the rates in the area have now doubled.

In line for approval

Unlike East and North corporations,the South corporation is yet to approve the layout plan for any newly regularised colony. The corporation drew up a list of five colonies for final approval,which will be placed before the Standing Committee soon.

On top of the list of the five colonies is Shakti Vihar.

“We have waited patiently for all these years. Now that the colony is so close to being regularised,each day seems like an eternity. Regularisation of the colony will be the best thing to happen here,” Kanwaljit Kaur,who moved to Shakti Vihar in 1994,says.

The other four colonies in the South corporation list are Shakti Vihar A-Block,Meethapur Extension,Sri Colony and Lakhpat Colony.

Just off the Kalindi Kunj-Meethapur Road and eight kilometre south of Badarpur,Shakti Vihar has close to 1,000 houses.

“Ours was the fifth house when we moved here in 1989. Through the ’90s more residents came and after 2002,the number multiplied exponentially. In Shakti Vihar RWA,there are 978 registered owners,” RWA president Swarn Singh says.

For Singh and the 977 other home-owners,regularisation promises more authenticity. “It means our houses can never be demolished now. We have remained in limbo for too long and now we are so close to finally owning the houses ourselves. Until now,we could only use the general power of attorney for all practical purposes,” Singh says.

He looks forward to basic civic amenities such as electricity,water,sewerage and garbage collection,and,of course,the phenomenal spike in real estate prices.

A property dealer in the area admits that business has never been better. “In the past six months,rates in just this colony have more than doubled and for plots closer to the main road,they have trebled. This colony will command even better rates if the main road,perpendicular to the Kalindi Kunj-Meethapur road,is widened,” he says.

Getting sanction an uphill task

A total of 895 colonies were regularised by the Delhi government in September 2012,but none of them have a final approved layout plan yet. The colonies,for which the layout plans were cleared by the standing committee of municipal corporations,are also awaiting final approval of both RWAs and corporations.

“The RWAs (residents’ welfare associations) have not given final approval to go ahead with the layout plan,which we got through our 2007 aerial survey of the colonies,”an official in the Town Planning department said.

In the absence of a response from the RWAs,the three corporations shortlisted five colonies each on their own to begin the process. The corporations,along with the Delhi government,also shortlisted three agencies to help finalise the layout plans. The School of Planning and Architecture,Jamia Millia Islamia and IP University were shortlisted for the exercise.

The cost of preparing a layout plan is to be borne by the colony as corporations have refused to pay.

Once the layout plan for a colony is approved,residents can approach the civic agency to get their building plans cleared. But at that time,the resident will have to pay development fee.

According to a senior official,312 colonies on private land are regularised and 583 colonies on total or partial government land will be regularised when the residents hand in money to the government agency.

‘Centre nod for 1,100 colonies,we hope to clear the rest’

The regularisation process began in 2008. It is 2013,but the process is still underway?

The regularisation process is very complex and because it involves the Revenue department and land records,we cannot afford to make a single mistake. As of now,we have regularised 895 colonies of which land registration is possible for 319 colonies on private land.

Only 319 colonies are ready for land registration. What are the complications with private and government land?

The Revenue department is involved in a massive exercise to re-survey each plot in every colony that has been regularised. This survey aims to finally determine whether the plots are built on private or government land. As and when a survey in a colony is complete,plots are available for registration at the sub-registry office.

How will the government ensure that no further unauthorised colonies come up?

We hope to regularise at least 1,100 colonies soon,for which the Centre has granted approval. Now,we have asked the Centre for permission to regularise the remaining colonies in one go. Once all colonies are regularised,we will formulate a strong policy and put the onus on land-owning agencies and officials to ensure no further unauthorised development.

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