Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Promise of Regularisation

By Subhadra Banda and Shahana Sheikh

There is little transparency in the regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi.

 Earlier this week, acting on behalf of the Delhi government, the Chief Minister wrote a letter to the President asking for a probe against the former Chief Minister, reportedly for “alleged irregularities in the regularisation of unauthorised colonies in Delhi”. This follows the Delhi Lokayukta’s finding in November 2013 that the “issuance of the PRC [provisional regularisation certificates] on the eve of the elections [in 2008] was a populist measure intended to woo voters”. It also found that some unauthorised colonies (UACs) received the PRC despite having submitted incomplete applications.

                     UACs, which are estimated to house 30 per cent of Delhi’s population, were promised regularisation in 2008, and again in the manifestos of the Aam Aadmi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Congress, prior to the Delhi elections of 2013. In his first address to the newly-elected Delhi Assembly this year, the Lieutenant Governor announced that an “action plan for regularising unauthorised colonies within a year is being drawn up and this plan shall be implemented rigorously in a time-bound manner”. To understand this issue, it is important to understand how this problem arose.

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Glaring Loopholes: Delhi Government’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation / Resettlement of Slum-Dwellers


If the Aam Aadmi Party government wants to keep its promise to the slum-dwellers to resettle and rehabilitate them with dignity and humaneness, then it must act quickly to plug in the various loopholes and iron out the ambiguities present in the resettlement guidelines which were issued by the previous Delhi government in 2013.

                While addressing the Delhi legislative assembly on 2 January 2014, preceding the trust vote, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal put forward a seventeen-point agenda for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. The rehabilitation and resettlement of people living in unauthorised colonies and jhuggis was one of the issues mentioned by him. He said that unless the newly elected assembly finds a solution for them, their jhuggis will not be demolished. Just like the other political parties, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has promised in-situ resettlement, i.e., residents of jhuggi jhopri clusters (JJCs) will be given plots or flats at the same site where they are currently residing. The residents would be relocated to transitory accommodation, flats would be constructed on the cleared land, and “eligible” residents would then take possession of flats allotted to them. Only if this process was not feasible, would permanent relocation be undertaken.

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