No water or sewage lines for Capital’s unauthorised yet ‘affluent’ colonies

Marked as an unauthorised colony inhabited by the affluent, Vasant Kunj in Delhi has yet to get proper sewage and water supply lines

 

In the well to do neighbourhoods of Vasant Kunj Enclave, one wouldn’t think that the Delhi Jal Board does not maintain the sewage systems or water supply. Water has for years been sourced from tube wells, and sewage is collected into pits. 

At the same time, we found homes here go from anywhere above Rs 1 crore to Rs 4.5 crores. But this area along with 68 others falls under the category government lists as “unauthorised colonies inhabited by affluent sections of society”. This includes areas such as Sainik Farms where homes are sold from anywhere between Rs 4 crores to Rs 15 crores.

These areas have not yet been regularized and residents here wonder when, if ever this would take place. While the government calls them the affluent, their homes cannot be registered as they fall under the unauthorized colonies. RWA president, Block A of Vasant Kunj Enclave, Harish Chandra Puri tells Patriot, that this makes it impossible to apply for loans against the property. “This hampers our property rights. I’ve written to the PMO office as well as the DDA but the response has not been satisfactory.”

But what is even more exasperating for residents here is that the civic authorities have taken their time to respond to their everyday issues. “Government keeps talking about smart cities but it should work on smart colonies, MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) takes no responsibility here”, he says even as more and more houses are being constructed here. “We have only tube wells for water consumption. This water has been found to have salts, mica and silica sand so there’s a lot of water problem. I had told the DJB last year before Covid but the forest department has to give their NOC which hasn’t been given yet.”

Despite being marked an unauthorised colony, relying on sewage pits and tube wells for water supply, new constructions are coming up in Vasant Kunj PHOTO: Sashikala

For roads and drainage systems which comes under Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (DSIIDC), he says the organization had prepared the estimates and were on the job but it is taking a long time.

In his neighbourhood, he cites the example of Block B where while water pipelines have been installed, they are yet to receive supply from it. “Our colony has been developed only recently, about 4-5 years back, no one went to the DJB. But in B block people went to the DJB early on and now finally there are pipelines installed”.

A resident of Block B tells us that the water pipeline was in fact installed in March 2020, but nothing has happened since. “With Covid they had a good excuse but now it’s been so long. It took them just a day to install the pipelines, so surely it will not take long to connect these pipelines to the water supply”.

The colony which was established some 15 years ago, does not even have a DJB run sewage system, instead residents have pits which get emptied by private companies. “Politicians keep making promises to give us these facilities but nothing happens. If something has been promised, why is it hard to provide these things?”

The Central government in December 2019 enacted the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Act, 2019 which recognised 1,797 unauthorised colonies for ownership rights to be given to them under the PM-Uday scheme. However, the act excluded ‘69’ colonies that were termed affluent colonies.

Puri contests that demarcation, “what made these colonies affluent? There are people from almost all economic status here” he said.

The majority of these affluent colonies are located in South Delhi parliamentary constituency like — Anant Ram Dairy (RK Puram), Neb Sarai, Mehrauli, Bijwasan and Mahipalpur. These 69 colonies have farmhouses, big plots and have come up on privately owned agricultural land. While unauthorised colonies which are getting ownership rights are on government land.

 

(Cover: Commomfloor.com)

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