by Akhilesh K Prasad
The Delhi government made a budgetary allocation of Rs. 1,500 crore in its annual Budget 2018-19 for carrying out development works in the city’s unauthorised colonies. There are around 1,600 unauthorised colonies in Delhi which are pivotal in deciding the fate of political parties in elections. The Delhi CM had criticised the previous governments of neglecting unauthorised colonies.
In the previous 3 years, from 2015 to 2018, the AAP government claimed to have spent Rs. 2,500 crore for various development works in unauthorised colonies. The development works undertaken by the AAP government were said to be on basic amenities such as the construction of roads, drains, water supply, sewerage, sanitation, and street lights.
Till now, the focus of the AAP government has been on education and health care sectors. Last year, out of a total budget of around Rs. 53,000 crores, Rs. 13,997 or 26% was allotted to education alone. Rs. 6,729 crore or 12.7% was allocated to health. However, this year, with just over a year remaining for the next Vidhan Sabha elections, the focus of the AAP government is likely to shift to unauthorised colonies.
The plan for the development of unauthorised colonies has been taking shape since the end of July 2018 when the Delhi government instructed the revenue department and the forest department to map the patches of forest land (Khasras) in 179 unauthorised colonies and start development work in 3 weeks. Most of these 179 colonies are spread across Chhatarpur, Burari, Tughlakabad, Kirari, Sangam Vihar and Chandni Chowk assembly constituencies. Such colonies do not have basic infrastructure such as functional water pipelines and sewer lines among others. It is noteworthy here that the forest department had put a blanket ban on any development work in areas with green patches in 2016. It was said, while development work had started in other colonies, these 179 colonies were lagging due to the ban. For instance, development work in 50 such colonies in Chhatarpur and 3 in Burari was stalled as these colonies had a small piece of forest land each.
In the last few months, the Delhi government has been on an inauguration spree. Sewer lines projects, water pipelines and roads were inaugurated in Mongolpuri, Burari, Bawana, Badarpur, Mustafabad, Badli and Patel Nagar. In Badli, the CM inaugurated works on drains, roads and streets at a cost of Rs. 97.86 crore. The government stated that it will benefit over 1 lakh people. In Patel Nagar, drains and lanes worth Rs. 2.47 crore were inaugurated.
The Delhi government is said to have stated that while they have kept their promise with respect to education and health, they will continue their work in these sectors. Meanwhile, in 2019, a renewed impetus is also being planned for unauthorised colonies. We hope they fulfil this promise as well.
An MBA by qualification, Akhilesh has dabbled into various businesses. He is a keen debater, data miner and analytically inclined. His blogs tend to present a fresh perspective on any given matter