Regularisation of slums: will Kejriwal's move pay off?
Kejriwal's move to give land rights to slum dwellers in 1797 unauthorized colonies will begin soon. It's aimed at consolidating the AAP's vote bank
A year ahead of the assembly elections, Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced the regularisation of 1797 illegal slums in Delhi.
Kejriwal held a press conference to announce that the Central government had approved his government’s proposal in this regard and the process of legal registration of the houses and land in 1797 unauthorized colonies will begin soon. The move will give ownership rights of land to millions of slum dwellers in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, a major chunk of his vote bank.
The Chief Minister told the media that the proposal was sent to the central government in November 2015; it was approved after a delay of 45 months. The Kejriwal government's term, which came to power winning a whopping 67 out of 70 seats in 2015, ends next year.
“There is good news for those who live in unauthorized colonies of Delhi. Their dream of living in a permanent house will now be realised... when our government was formed we decided that we would give those living in these colonies their right," Kejriwal said.
"Yesterday we got a positive response from the central government. They are ready to regularise these settlements, I want to thank the central government from our side. They asked some questions which will be cleared," he added.
Kejriwal also announced a major push to enhance civic amenities in these colonies, worth Rs. 6000 crores. Soon after the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, in which the AAP did not win a single one of the seven seats, the Kejriwal government had gone ahead full steam on revamping facilities in the slums.
Urban development minister of Delhi Satyendra Jain, meanwhile, informed that the cut off date for ownernship rights has been fixed for 1st January 2015.
Experts say the move is purely targeted at the AAP's vote bank and has little to do with the development of Delhi.
“This seems more of a political gimmick. The process of regularising the colonies will be a time-consuming process and will take more than a couple of years. The questions raised by the central government have not been revealed. It is more about getting the message out that land ownership is not too far for a section of the people who are mostly his voters,” an urban development ministry official told Asiaville.
The fact that these colonies sprung up without permission makes it clear that they are not in line with the master plan of the city and regularising them will further strain resources, he added.