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Sidhu says no, cabinet says yes to policy Captain Takes Final Call On Illegal Colonies

July 31, 2018 05:29 AM


Sidhu says no, cabinet says yes to policy
Captain Takes Final Call On Illegal Colonies


: Local bodies’ ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu registered strong dissent to the contentious policy for regularization of illegal colonies at the cabinet meeting on Monday. His arguments were endorsed by a section of ministers and it was left it to chief minister Amarinder Singh to take a call. Later, a spokesperson said that the draft policy had been approved.

Sources said Sidhu questioned why responsibility was not being fixed for the officer concerned who helped the colonizers build illegal colonies. He said in the name of colonies there were agricultural fields and now his department would have to bear the liability of providing these areas basic amenities.

Urban housing minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, under whose supervision the policy has been prepared, defended the draft. Meanwhile, a small section of ministers chose to be non-committal, added sources. Bajwa claimed that most suggestions made by Sidhu had been incorporated in subsequent revision.

Sources said a few other ministers said that the illegal colonies suffer from multiple problems and the policy needed to be comprehensive. Sidhu, for instance, said that the area under roads carved out in illegal colonies still stood in the name of the owner and it is being sold off to unsuspecting buyers that is resulting in unnecessary litigation.

Pointing out an inherent “contradiction” in the policy were “self-defeating”, Sidhu reportedly said that where on one hand the policy’s clause 2.2 said that unplanned colonies will be brought into the fold of planned development to ensure better quality of life for its residents, it also says that the liability of the government to provide these services will be limited to the collection of funds under the policy.

Sidhu has also claimed that where government agencies first buy or acquire land from the owners in their names and then sell the plots to buyers whereas the illegal colonizers don’t buy the property or land in their name. Instead, they make an agreement with the owner by evading stamp duty and registration fee. After this, they sell the property in the shape of illegal colonies, which is in violation of laws and also cause huge losses to the state government. It also blocks the way for future development of infrastructure.

Another point that reportedly found endorsement from a section of other ministers, Sidhu said illegal colonies had come up in agricultural fields and some even have built up houses. In revenue records, however, these were still agricultural fields.

At the previous meetings of the group of ministers to finalize the policy, Sidhu has been pointing out that the plots at the site were numbered only in the layout plan of the proposed colonies but in the revenue records the plots still had “khasra” numbers.

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