Heavy penalty for regularisation?

The amount charged can be used for putting in place basic infrastructure in Delhi’s affluent unauthorised colonies

If the government moves to regularise the unauthorised Sainik Farms and Anant Ram Dairy, the rich and the powerful residents of both the south Delhi colonies should be charged a heavy penalty. This money can be used to put in basic infrastructure over there, urbanisation experts have said. The rest of the money can be used for the infrastructure development of the entire city, they say.

 “Talk of regularising these affluent colonies goes to show that the government is following a differential policy where it seeks to demolish the habitation of the poor and establish those of the rich,” says Indu Prakash Singh, national convenor, National Forum for Housing Rights (NFHR) and president, Forum Against Corruption and Threats (FACT).

The urban development ministry is considering the option of levying a penalty of 50 to 100 times the established circle rates, especially for plots that are over 350 sq m. This will cost residents several crores. These areas fall under category A or B where the prevailing circle rates are ` 7.74 lakh per sq m and ` 2.45 lakh per sq m.

According to M N Buch, urban planner and architect of modern Bhopal, the best option is to demolish these areas but if that cannot be done, a penalty should be charged to discourage people from carrying out unauthorised construction and the money used to develop the city. Development charges should also be imposed to provide sewage and other facilities in the area.

Regularisation will also have its problems as “Many houses in these areas are built without conceding an offset from the boundary line of the plot, which would impede road widening. For widening, too, either the government will have to acquire portions from multiple plot owners, or the plot owners would concede it under a comprehensively drafted layout plan. The layout plan would have to incorporate all the mandatory provisions of physical infrastructure, social infrastructure, services, amenities and recreation. Most importantly, it would have to be a collaborative initiative between government agencies and residents,” adds Ramesh Menon of Certes Realty.

The Centre had regularised 1,939 unathorised colonies before last year’s general elections, but had left out the 17 affluent colonies. Also, the urban development ministry under the UPA had moved a cabinet note in 2013 to get an in-principle approval for regularisation of Sainik Farms, Mahendru Enclave and Anant Ram Dairy. This failed to materialise as the department had not specified the amount of regularisation fee.

A committee headed by former Delhi chief secretary K K Mathur then came out with a report classifying the unauthorised colonies: These included colonies on public land where violations were made by way of encroachment of government land and construction of buildings without sanction of the competent authorities. Other colonies included those on private land where there violations had been made in the form of land use against that indicated in the Master Plan and buildings had been constructed buildings without sanction from the competent authorities.

The panel recommended that in “affluent unauthorised colonies on developed public land like Anant Ram Dairy and Mahendru Enclave, the cost of land would be recovered as per the current market value determined by the Central Board of Direct Taxes on the basis of market rates prevalent in similar affluent but authorised colonies in the neighbourhood plus a penalty for encroachment of 50% of market value.”

Unauthorised colonies inhabited by affluent sections of the society and unauthorised development in farmhouses had to be regularised. However, the modalities of regularisation should be different from those laid down for other colonies peopled by economically weaker sections of the society, the report said.

Costs to put in infrastructure should be recovered from the affluent residents. Extra land would also have to be taken from them for bringing the authorised colony at par with regular colonies. Wherever there is encroachment of public land, the cost of the land should also be recovered from the affluent residents and not impose a burden on the government.

“In addition, we feel that some penalty needs to be imposed on residents of these colonies at the time of regularisation, so that a clear message goes that nobody, howsoever rich and powerful, can get away with unauthorised development,” the panel had said in its report.

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One Response to “Heavy penalty for regularisation?”

  1. Ajay Dabas says:

    These colonies should be treated at par with other unauthorised colonies and proper infrastructure should be laid out under a special layout plan.

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