Parliament on Wednesday passed the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021, to regularise unauthorised colonies. While Rajya Sabha had passed the bill on February 9 in the first leg of the Budget Session, Lok Sabha passed it on Wednesday amid Opposition ruckus over farm laws. Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said in Lok Sabha that the bill would give protection to unauthorised colonies from sealing till December 31, 2023.
“There is a public perception that the issue of unauthorised colonies has been delayed by some political parties when they were in office,” Puri said while replying to a debate on the bill. The House later passed the bill by a voice vote. Puri said the problem of unauthorised colonies predates the assumption of office by the Narendra Modi dispensation in 2014, but no previous government took this issue up with any degree of seriousness.
“In 1947, 17 per cent of India’s population lived in cities. The population of Delhi was 8 lakh at that time…. The 1951 census showed Delhi’s population at 22 lakh. The 2011 census showed Delhi’s population at 1.6 crore. There will be another census this year and I expect the population of Delhi to be close to 2 crore, if not higher,” Puri said. It is a matter of great shame that between 2006 when the process of regularisation started and 2014, all the governments which were in power in the city of Delhi did nothing, Puri said and sought cooperation from parties to bring relief to the citizens of Delhi. Citing a letter received by his ministry from the Delhi government in 2019 seeking the extension of timeline for conducting survey of unauthorised colonies, Puri said that it is then the Modi government decided to bring this bill.
The bill replaces the Ordinance which was brought in December last year to extend protection from punitive action to unauthorised colonies, JJ clusters and constructions in Delhi’s rural areas built on agriculture land for another three years till December 2023. The legislation will extend the legal protection for scores of illegal constructions and unauthorised colonies in the national capital from demolition or sealing till December 2023. There are around 1,700 unauthorised colonies in Delhi. The NCT of Delhi (Special Provisions) Second Amendment Bill, 2021, is an extension of a similar law first passed in 2011. When the 2011 law had expired, the government had in 2014 enacted the law again to grant a fresh extension. Since the law re-enacted in 2017 was ending soon and there was no winter session of Parliament, an Ordinance was brought in to extend the protection to unauthorised colonies from sealing for another three years till December 2023.