New Delhi: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday kickstarted the distribution of documents conferring freehold rights to residents of 45 resettlement colonies, seen as an attempt by the Sheila Dikshit Government to woo lakhs of their residents ahead of assembly polls.
Around 15 lakh people in 2.5 lakh households will be benefited by the Delhi government`s decision to grant freehold rights to the occupants of the resettlement colonies which were developed almost 40 years back.
Most of the people, who were given freehold rights in the first batch of about a dozen, said they have been associated with Congress for last several years.
Speaking on the occasion, Gandhi complimented Delhi Government for ensuring welfare of all sections of the society besides carrying out infrastructural development in the city.
Elaborating on "inclusive" nature of the city, he said "whenever someone comes to Delhi from UP, Punjab, Bihar, Kerala or Madhya Pradesh, Delhi welcomes them with open arms. If a Hindu, Muslim or Sikh comes to Delhi, they all are welcomed with open arms."
"Delhi represents India`s thought and spirit, it represents India`s unity. It has prospered through your hard work," he told the people from resettlement colonies.
Complimenting Delhi Government for infrastructural development, Gandhi said it was during Indira Gandhi`s tenure as Prime Minister that people were settled in the resettlement colonies.
"The whole country knows if infrastructure development has taken place then it has taken place in Delhi. And who has built it. It is the Congress government. But infrastructure will be of no use if people do not progress," he said, addressing the function organised at Yamuna Sports Complex in East Delhi.
He said people living in villages across the country come to Delhi with a "dream" and Congress wants to help them realise it.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, her cabinet colleagues, DPCC chief JP Agarwal and senior Delhi Congress leaders were present on the occasion.
Gandhi also noted that all sections of people including those living in slums and resettlement colonies have contributed significantly towards making Delhi the "best city" in the country.
"If these flyovers are made, who has made them? If these roads are built, who has constructed them? Those living in the slum clusters and resettlement colonies have immensely contributed to the growth of the city. They have invested their blood and sweat in this," Gandhi said.
"When a person living in a village looks at Delhi, he sees a dream. Congress believes that this transition from villages to cities is not easy... The Congress party wants to fulfil that dream," he said.
Stressing on the importance of communal unity, he said "Delhi is progressing rapidly because its Hindus, Muslim, Sikh and Christians residents are taking it forward."
Gandhi said India has undergone a transformation in the last 60-70 years and more and more people will come to the cities in the years to come.
"Earlier 60-70 percent of India`s people lived in villages and 30 percent in the cities. In the days to come, 50-55 percent of our population will be living in cities. Our country is large. It is the second highest in terms of population and will soon be at number one," he said.
Congratulating those who have been given freehold rights, Gandhi said government will never forget their contribution in growth and development of the city.
Officials said original allottees and their legal heirs will have to pay five per cent of the existing circle rates for converting the properties to free hold while occupants who purchased properties and residing prior to March 31, 2007 will have to pay 30 percent of circle rate for the same.
All occupants other than tenants and residing in the colonies prior to December 31, 2011 will be charged 100 percent of the circle rate for getting free hold rights of their properties.
The resettlement colonies are situated in different parts of the city including Sriniwaspuri, Mangolpuri, Wazirpur, Satya Niketan, Janakpuri, Pankha Road, Jahangirpuri and Madangir.
Speaking on the occasion, Dikshit said ownership rights would provide the residents surety about their property and they would be able to make property related transaction.
Describing Gandhi as the future the country, Dikshit said the city government would approach him when he becomes Prime Minister to demand redressal of difficulties arising due to multiplicity of authorities.
She said people coming to Delhi from other states have equally contributed in development and prosperity of the city.
"We are grateful to them. Delhi has given them all opportunities to move forward and has treated them as Delhiites in true sense.