New Delhi: To allow the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to reclaim several properties which are under unauthorised occupation, a Parliamentary Panel has endorsed the need to amend the Public Premises (Eviction of unauthorised Occupants) or the PPE Act of 1971.
In its report tabled in Parliament on Monday, the Standing Committee on Urban Development, chaired by JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, pulled up the Urban Development ministry for not being swift in carrying out the amendments.
Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna had earlier told the Committee that in 96 cases DMRC premises had not been vacated by occupants on time and these matters were now in court or arbitration.
The Committee noted that as per existing provisions of the PPE Act, any company in which "not less than 51 percent of the paid-up share capital is held by the central government" qualifies as a public premises.
As per this definition, DMRC, which is a joint venture between the Centre and Delhi government, does not qualify as a public premise, the Committee noted.
"The Committee finds that the proposed Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2011, seeks to provide that premises belonging to DMRC will also fall within the definition of public premises," the Standing Committee report said.
The Urban Development Ministry seeks through this amendment to insert a clause as per which companies where which 51 percent of the paid-up capital is held partly by the Centre and partly by one or more state government should also become public premises.
Stating that it is in agreement to the proposed amendments, the Standing Committee said it is "given to understand that after the proposed amendment, DMRC will be able to get their premises vacated through the designated Estate officer."
The Urban Development ministry had earlier told the Committee that after the amendments are carried out, DMRC will be able to get their premises vacated through the designated Estate Officer within 3 to 4 months.
"The Committee, while agreeing to the proposed amendments, is of the view that this time limit of 3 to 4 months should be adhered to as otherwise the very purpose of amendment would be defeated," the report said.
The Parliamentary panel also said it was convinced "that this amendment does not violate the public sector character since no party other than the central government and the government of NCT of Delhi is involved" in the ownership of DMRC.
While the Committee in its report agreed to the proposed agreements in the Bill it also said the "legislation in respect of DMRC should have found priority and cleared without delay."
The Committee expressed its dissatisfaction with the Urban Development ministry which had brought forward the Bill in Parliament ten months after the cabinet had given its nod to the amendment.
"The reasons cited by the ministry that has caused the delay do not satisfy the committee. The committee wants the government to act swiftly at least in such matters and not to procrastinate the things unnecessarily," the standing committee report said.