Delhi's unauthorized colonies turn legal

Far from being punished heavily for indulging in an illegal act of buying a house in an unauthorised colony, the Delhi govt, with an eye firmly on future elections, gently rapped them on the knuckles - they need to pay a tiny fine to turn their ill-gotten gains into a windfall.

House owners in over 1,600 unauthorised colonies in the city will have to pay Rs 200 per square metre as development charge for regularisation of their colonies as well as getting various basic amenities like water supply, drainage and road connectivity.

It should be remembered that those having bought plots/flats in legal colonies paid huge amounts. Not just that, the honest taxpayers' money is being used for the upkeep of these illegal colonies, providing them all the utilities and other facilities that they never paid for..

A senior official said if someone has a house on a 50-meter plot, he will have to pay an amount of Rs 10,000 to the government as development fees.

The Delhi Cabinet, presided over by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today, fixed the amount as the development charge on unauthorised colonies for their regularisation and providing various services.

The amount was finalised on the basis of a recommendation by a Group of Ministers (GoM) which had submitted its report last week.

"The Cabinet has approved the recommendations of the GoM to levy development charges for regularisation of unauthorised colonies," Dikshit said.

The GoM under the chairmanship of Finance Minister A K Walia was appointed last month ago to fix the rate after consensus eluded in a Cabinet meeting.

The development charge has been fixed to recover the cost of providing various basic amenities like water, power, roads and sewer lines in the unauthorised colonies which have applied for regularisation.

The Delhi government had issued provisional regularisation certificates to over 1,200 unauthorised colonies in the year 2008, just before the assembly elections.

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