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The fate of the Unauthorised Colonies

Anushree Ghosh,

The mushroomed unauthorized colonies of Delhi provide a classic example of the failure of the authorities in controlling encroachment.  The houses are glued with each other without any proper infrastructural facilities. Waterlogging, lack of proper parking spaces, waste management, safety, lack of public amenities, improper drainage system are some of the issues faced by these colonies. Even the banks don’t offer loans for buying houses in these areas.

Regularisation of these colonies has been a matter of debate, majorly because of the political reasons. Until 1993, many efforts were made to regularize them. However, when the government was keen to regularize around 1000 colonies, an NGO, the Common Cause Society raised objection about the process followed for regularization. Therefore, the court ordered to suggest guidelines for the same. This slowed the process for several years.  In 2008, the Sheila Dixit government presented the required documents to the court for regularizing 1218 colonies, followed by no substantial impacts.

There are several questions that need to be considered before taking any decisions on the fate of several people residing in the unauthorized areas.

  • The authenticity of the rent agreement between the owner of an unauthorized house and his/her tenant.
  • Jurisdiction issues if a house is partly on public domain and partly on private land.
  • Registrations norms for the members of the residents of the society
  • ACTS to consider for registering the houses officially- Societies Registration Act or/and Housing Societies Act of Delhi
  • Guidelines to resolve legal issues about the areas
  • Right to claim ownership of the land by the tenants along with the landlord

The list contains umpteen questions and the solution is much more difficult than a yes or no to whether regularization should be done. The unauthorized colonies have affected the infrastructural set up in a deep-rooted form and demolishing and relocating people is also not a possible solution. The lucrative scenario of their existence is also due to the high rents associated with an ever-increasing migrating population to Delhi. In addition to that, many people have invested their black money on such properties to earn monthly rents.  Location too plays a prime role in the high prices of the houses in these areas, which are in close proximity to the posh areas of Delhi.

As per the report published by NDTV Oct 24, 2017, the following has been pleaded by Advocate Arpit Bhargava, seeking orders from the High Court.

“Illegal constructions have come up in violation of the National Building Code 2005 for seismic zone IV, in which Delhi falls, and the order of the high court that no building should be allowed to come up without complying with the norms.”

While governments have agreed upon the importance of regularizing the colonies, none of the state governments could handle the issue with a logical approach. Also, lack of coordination between the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the municipal corporations and the state government has further worsened the issue. The need is to deal with the process under the supervision of one authority that would rework on the master plan of the city and rethink of the guidelines required for reestablishment or legalization of unauthorized colonies.

Anushree is a versatile writer, theatre actress with an immense passion for any form of art. Her blogs will take you through the different horizons of infracultural stories.

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