December 4, 2019
Dola Sen speaks on the regularisation of unauthorised colonies in National Capital Territory of Delhi
Thank you Deputy Chairman Sir, for allowing me to speak on this subject.
Before I begin speaking about the bill, let me bring to the attention of the House that this is yet another Bill that hasn’t been sent to the relevant Standing Committee. Our party, All India Trinamool Congress, strongly believes that Bills must be scrutinised by Standing Committees before they are passed. Yes, the need for this legislation is urgent but we cannot make that an excuse to rush legislation through. This is a good way to improve legislation and not rush with them. Therefore, I request the government to ensure that more Bills are sent to Committees for scrutiny.
Respected Chairman, this NCT Bill seeks to regularise over 1700 unauthorised colonies to benefit nearly 40 lakh residents. Since residents do not have title documents of their properties, transferring ownership of their houses to them will give them a sense of dignity. It will also allow these residents to get credit from banks and financial institutions against their houses.
Providing a dignified living status to people and giving them access to formal capital markets are important steps towards inclusive development. Therefore, I support the idea of regularising illegal colonies in spirit.
However, I must raise concerns on behalf of my party on certain key issues.
1. The BJP government had the information about unauthorised colonies when it came to power. Despite that, why has the Government taken five years to bring this Bill to Parliament?
The Aam Aadmi Party government has been working since 2015 to provide facilities to 1,800 unauthorised colonies of Delhi. The Kejriwal government has spent Rs 8,000 crore on amenities like sewage, pipelines and drains.
Can the Central government tell us about the amount of money it has spent or proposes to spend for developing infrastructure in unauthorised colonies?
Sorry Sir, I agree with Shelja ji, this is clearly a stunt to gain political mileage before the upcoming Assembly Elections in Delhi. But then, isn’t this government famous for only doing stunts. Don’t mind, as we are seeing from 2014, are common people getting Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts, as our Prime Minister promised?
2. The government wants to regularise colonies but the mapping process isn’t even over yet. Out of the 1700 colonies, only 600 colonies have been digitally mapped till now.
Firstly, will the Minister clarify whether the images are from 2015 or latest images have been taken. It will be unfair to assess the present layout of colonies on the basis of four year old images. This could result in many people getting excluded from the regularisation.
The bigger concern is that no steps have been taken for regularising these colonies despite having the images from 2015. This clearly shows that this move is motivated by political necessity and not inclusive development. If the process has been started so late, how many people will end up benefiting from this move? Can the government tell us when the registration of properties will begin, given that the process of mapping the colonies isn’t even over yet?
3. There are problems with the Delhi Development Authority which is in charge of regularising colonies. Since it is under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Delhi government has no control over it. Absolutely, no control. It is under the exclusive control of Central Government. The DDA directly affects land policy and use, it should be directly accountable to the citizens of Delhi and their elected representatives in the Delhi government.
The DDA does not have land for public necessities but it always seems to have land for offices of the ruling party. Sir, incidentally, one national party called the All India Trinamool Congress is still waiting for its party office in Delhi for the last 8 years! We are the third largest party in Parliament and we still haven’t been allotted land for an official party office despite payment being made for the same.
I am sorry, Sir, for this information.
4. The Bill itself has some issues.
The definition of resident includes legal heirs but it should be extended to “family” since many people might not have children. In that case, their spouse or immediate family members should be given ownership rights.
Secondly, the Bill should include all unauthorised colonies for regularisation. Places like Sainik Farms and Chattarpur should also be regularised.
Thirdly, the Bill has flawed provisions because the Bill does not make consideration for laws, other than the Stamp Act 1899, Registration Act, Income Tax Act that come into force while transferring a property. I would like to seek clarification from the minister, what about the Transfer of properties act which comes into application on of conveyance of property?
Finally, the government should also work towards renaming the colonies. Despite giving ownership rights, colonies like ‘Harijan Basti’ will still face social stigma because of the caste connotation associated with their names.
5. In conclusion, let me give you one example which emphasises inclusive development in the truest sense of the word. The Bengal Government under our Hon’ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has regularised 94 colonies on state owned land. This has benefitted over 70,000 people. Our government is also going to regularise refugee colonies on land owned by the Centre, as well as private land upto 3 acres. This will benefit 12,000 families. Displaced people will be given land rights by the Trinamool government. Along with regularisation, development will also go hand in hand unlike the proposed Bill we are discussing today.
Respected Deputy Chairman, words are meaningless unless accompanied by action. I ask the central government to guarantee a date by which every single household in Delhi’s unauthorised colonies will get ownership rights.
May I also ask them one last question – when will they agree to grant Delhi statehood?