Parliament passes bill to legalise 1,731 colonies in Delhi

New Delhi


Seeking to legalise over 1,700 unauthorised colonies and grant property rights to nearly 40 lakh residents of Delhi, the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill 2019 by voice vote.

The bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and would now be sent to the President for his assent.

Members from across the political divide including the Congress, BSP, RJD and AAP supported the bill but many Opposition leaders questioned the timing of the bill.

Replying to members on the bill, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said that the issue of unorganized colonies was on the agenda of the Narendra Modi government ever since it came to power in May, 2014.

He termed the opposition members' remarks as uncalled for.

The bill does not include nearly 66 unauthorised colonies such as Sainik Farms and Mahendru Enclave in the list for regularization as they have been classified as "affluent".

Properties in these unauthorised colonies are generally held through general power of attorney (GPA), will, agreement to sale, payment and possession documents. The properties in these colonies are not being registered by registration authorities and thereby the residents do not have any title documents in respect of such properties.

This bill is aimed at recognizing the power of attorney, will, agreement to sell, purchase and possession documents as a special one-time relaxation.

Following the regularisation of the colonies, property holders in these colonies would be able to get loans from banks. They would also be entitled for public facilities like schools, parks, roads, electricity and water.

While members of the treasury benches claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the real champion of the people's cause and has been consistently delivering on promises, the Opposition questioned the timing of the bill.

Introducing the bill, the Housing Minister said that only 9.14 per cent area of the total 1,731 colonies has been excluded as it includes forest land and high-tension electricity wires passing over it.

"The exclusions taken together do not account for more than 9.14 per cent of the total area of the 1,731 colonies. If population of 1,731 colonies is 40-50 lakhs, the total area is 176 square kilometres and spread over an area of 43,000 acres," Puri said.

On the remaining unauthorized colonies, the Minister said "for the moment we are confining ourselves to 1,731 colonies and the other 65 colonies will come at a later stage after the current exercise is completed".

The Minister said that delineation of boundaries and mapping of unauthorised colonies were progressing fast and would be completed shortly.

Justifying the need for not sending the bill to a Parliamentary panel, Puri said that it was very simple legislation with only two provisions.

"This is a very simple bill with two provisions that we allow registration on the basis of GPA, will agreement to sell, possession and payment documents. This is a one-time exception that we are seeking," he said.IANS