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Delhi govt to keep a watch over Dwarka flats allotted to slum dwellers
Hindustan Times  |  March 20, 2017

Faizan Haidar

The Delhi government will keep a watch on occupants of the Dwarka flats, where 334 families of slum dwellers have been rehabilitated, in order to stop them from selling the allotted apartments.


The city government is slated to conduct surprise inspections at the premises. Towards this, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) has collected fingerprint details of allottees and will conduct the inspections with biometric machines.


“We have taken thumb impressions of people who have been shifted to flats in Dwarka. The housing complex is located near Sector 14 Metro station. Since it is a prime property, the occupants might get tempted to sell it. To check this, we will conduct surprise inspections monthly,” said a DUSIB official. The official said that the allotment will be cancelled if the owner is not found to be living there.


Officials said that the market value of the property is Rs 40 lakh, while the occupants have paid Rs 1.12 lakh for the flat and Rs 30,000 for maintenance. The department has provided help in the form of carpenters and plumbers to the residents. DUSIB is also aiding them in getting admission for children in nearby school, and in some cases, even providing buses.


“In Delhi, the slum rehabilitation has been going on for the past two years. Earlier, the government gave plots, which many of them sold off. We don’t want a repeat of the same. That is why we will keep a watch this time,” the official said.


Similar rehabilitation work in Mumbai had turned into a big racket, with allottees continuing to live in slums, despite being given flats, which they put on rent.


The Delhi government has so far shifted several families from Mayur Vihar to Bakraula and Dwarka, and will be shifting many more over the coming days.


The slum rehabilitation policy of the AAP government was approved by the Delhi Cabinet in July 2016, but the file was sent back by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal in February with some observations. DUSIB, which approved the policy in April 2016, has now responded to L-G’s observations. The policy will be placed before Cabinet once again.


The Delhi government had kept the cut-off date as January 1, 2015. This meant that the slum clusters that came up after this date will be demolished and will not be eligible for rehabilitation.


The AAP government wanted the cut-off date to be February 14, 2015, the day they formed the government, in a bid to appease their vote bank. “Their biggest poll prank was ‘Jaha Jhuggi, Wahan Makaan’ and the cut-off date was fixed as February 14, keeping that in mind. But the ministry of urban development raised objections to it and in order to avoid confrontation, the AAP government agreed,” said a senior Delhi government official.


“The thrust of the policy is in situ rehabilitation, using land as a resource and relocation will be resorted to only as an exception. Attempts will be made to rehabilitate eligible slum dwellers at the same location or a location within a radius of five kilometres,” said a Delhi government spokesperson.


DUSIB will function as the nodal agency and will rehabilitate the eligible JJ dwellers before removal of shanties as per the policy.


The project


DUSIB has identified four slum clusters from where the pilot rehabilitation project will start.


About 2,000 families living in north Delhi’s Sangam Park will be the first to be rehabilitated under Delhi government’s slum-free policy.


DUSIB has 2,040 houses available for Economically Weaker Section (EWS). After Sangam Park, DUSIB has identified 20 slum clusters in Tagore Garden and Sultanpuri for the pilot project.


Of the three lakh slum in Delhi, only 40% are on Delhi government’s land, while the rest are on land belonging to different agencies.


According to officials, there are around 70,000 shanties on Delhi government’s land and 57,000 houses are ready in outer Delhi to rehabilitate the shanty occupants.


As per DUSIB’s plan, about 500 acre of encroached land could be used for development.