|President gives assent
to demolition bill
Saturday, May 20, 2006
NEW DELHI: President APJ Abdul Kalam on Saturday gave his nod to the bill seeking a one-year moratorium on the demolition and sealing drives in Delhi.
A Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesman said the President has given his assent to the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill-2006.
The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on May 15 after it was approved by the Lok Sabha on May 12.
Providing relief to Delhiites from the court-ordered demolition and sealing drives, the bill proposes a one-year moratorium on punitive action against unauthorised constructions in the national capital.
The bill provides for status quo as on January one, 2006 of unauthorised development in respect of mixed land use, construction beyond sanctioned plans and encroachments by slum dwellers, hawkers and street vendors in the capital.
The Centre intends to use the one-year moratorium period to set the system right in Delhi and look at the problems from a new prespective.
The bill came after stepped up demands by affected persons and political parties to halt demolitions and sealing of commercial establishments in Delhi.
Demolitions on despite passage
The corporation sealed a total of 130 properties. Sealing action in the city zone had completed and Karol Bagh and Najafgarh zone had no programme of sealing, a spokesman of the MCD said. This exercise would continue till the notification of Bill passed by Parliament, the spokesman said.
However, traders’ organisations demanded an end to demolitions and the sealing drive in the Capital with immediate effect as the matter was under the purview of Parliament with the Lok Sabha passing a Bill proposing a one year moratorium from punitive action for unauthorised construction in the city.
Despite the fact that the Lok Sabha had already passed the Bill on May 12, the MCD was regularly carrying out sealing and demolitions in different parts of the Capital, the Confederation of All India Traders said here.
Since the Bill was passed in one House and would be introduced in the other, it had become the subject matter of Parliament and as such MCD was under an obligation to suspend sealing and demolitions in Delhi with immediate effect, it said.
In memoranda submitted to Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, CAIT has urged for amendment in the Bill so that disconnection of electricity and water may also be restored and the clause of providing injunction to further disconnection of electricity and water must be included in the Bill.
It also demanded that during
the moratorium period of one year the trade bodies should be involved in
exercise of deliberations.
Bill a political statement,
not a solution: BJP
It is said that the government has sought one-year time for making some changes in the by-laws.
The Bill, likely to be tabled tomorrow, will just provide temporary relief of one year, sources in the government said.
The general-secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders, Parveen Khandelwal, said that the government was seeking one-year time to stop sealing of shops and demolition of unauthorised construction through the Bill. It has no intention to stop the MCD’s drive completely to provide traders permanent relief.
He said this is a political game being played by the Congress-led government in the State as well as in the Centre.
Hardly nine months are left for the Municipal election and the drive could harm the Congress party’s prospects. Once the election is held, the MCD may start the drive again.
The chief of the Delhi unit of the BJP, Dr Harshvardhan, said that the Bill was like a political statement, not a solution of the problem. “As I have come to know, the Bill is not solid in nature. There is no amnesty scheme and no change in Master Plan has been mentioned”, he said.
According to the record of the MCD, so far 13,000 shops and other business establishments in residential areas have been sealed and 2,490 buildings have been demolished. They will not get relief through the Bill. The government is tabling the Bill for whom, he questioned.
If the Bill is tabled and it is passed, only the MCD will get relief. The Engineering Department of the Corporation has been busy since the beginning of the sealing and demolition drive, he said.
The MCD has taken major action against more than four hundred engineers, who were suspected to have been in connivance with the builders, the spokesman of the MCD said.
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