New Delhi: With assembly elections just three months away, Delhi government is all set to ease norms for development works in over 1,600 unauthorised colonies, home to around 40 lakh people and considered as traditional Congress vote bank.
Besides easing norms to ensure speedy approval of projects in unauthorised colonies, government is likely go for acquisition of land in those settlements where government land was not available for setting up of hospitals and schools.
Sources said, in a first such move, the government has completed all formalities to buy a plot of land measuring 2.5 acre from a resident in an unauthorised colony in Mohan Garden area in West Delhi`s Uttam Nagar to set up a 200-bedded hospital.
They said Lt Governor Najeeb Jung has given go ahead for acquisition of the plot while Delhi Development Authority has already issued a no objection certificate for construction of the hospital on it which was categorised as agricultural land.
"This is for the first time government acquired private land in an unauthorised colony as there was no plot available for construction of the hospital. It is a reflection of government`s intention to put all facilities in unauthorised colonies," an official said.
Sources said government will go for more such acquisition in unauthorised colonies where there was no DDA land for setting up schools, hospitals and other basic facilities.
They said a cheque of Rs 1.35 crore has been issued to owner of the plot as first instalment.
"We are examining easing norms to ensure speedy development in unauthorised colonies. We are committed to provide all required facilities in these colonies," Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said.
Expressing happiness over government`s decision to acquire the plot of land in Mohan Garden, Uttam Nagar MLA Mukesh Sharma said Dikshit had promised to set up a hospital in the area while addressing a rally on March 3.
"The Chief Minister had made a promise and now it is coming to reality. The government will provide all required infrastructure to all the 1,639 unauthorised colonies," Sharma said. He alleged that certain BJP leaders were opposed to acquisition of land for the hospital.
"I had a dream of developing the unauthorised colonies in my area on par with other developed localities and it is coming to reality," Sharma, a four-time MLA and Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister, said.
Officials said government was considering easing certain norms for facilitating basic infrastructure in all unauthorised colonies in the city. The Delhi government has already written to Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath for changing land use norms in such settlements.
The government had regularised 895 unauthorised colonies in September last year and various agencies like PWD, Delhi Jal Board and municipal corporations were tasked to put in place all the required infrastructure in the settlements at the earliest.
The government has already asked all the three municipal corporations to take the help of professional architects in making the layout plans for colonies that have already been regularised.
The Delhi government had issued provisional regularisation certificates to over 1,639 unauthorised colonies ahead of assembly polls in 2008. The then Dikshit government, while distributing the certificates, had promised to regularise the colonies if Congress came to power for the third term.
After the Congress` defeat in municipal polls in April last year, Dikshit had asked all the departments concerned to expedite the regularisation process. Assembly polls in Delhi are scheduled for November.