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Delhi sealing echoes in Parliament
November 27, 2006 20:55 IST
Lok Sabha members on Monday expressed concern over the sealing drive in Delhi and demanded amendments to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi Act to take away the power of sealing from the MCD.
Initiating a discussion on the situation arising out of the ongoing sealing drive, Rajiv Ranjan Singh (Janata Dal-United) said the government had failed to finalise a master plan for the capital and that it should regularise unauthorised shops and colonies.
The government was to prepare a master plan by 2001 but that was still not ready, he said, adding that the two notifications by the government, which were meant to provide relief to traders, were rejected by the Supreme Court.
Singh and other members alleged the judiciary was crossing the 'Lakshman Rekha' and was interfering in legislative and executive matters.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader V K Malhotra, who headed a Committee on the issue, said the prime minister and all parties should examine powers given to the court-appointed committee monitoring the sealing drive.
Sajjan Kumar (Congress), however, blamed the BJP for politicising the issue. He said the notifications were not rejected, but were lying before the apex court. The member favoured regularising unauthorised colonies and schools.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Hannan Mollah sought amendments to the MCD Act and suggested the law be put in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution so that it cannot be challenged in courts. Maintaining that 55 per cent of Delhi's population lived in unauthorised colonies and settlements, he said there were only 54 nursing homes which were situated in regularised areas while as many as 584 nursing homes and hospitals were 'irregular constructions.'
Both Congress and BJP blamed each other for the situation arising out of the recent sealing drive but no one spoke of 'corrupt' bureaucrats, he said, adding that the rehabilitation of those evicted from their premises should be accorded top priority.
Revati Raman Singh (Samajwadi Party) and Devendra Prasad Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal) supported Mollah's contention that the amended law should be placed in the Ninth Schedule and said the existing master plan, which was evolved way back in 1962, be expeditiously redrawn and implemented.
Yadav alleged the judiciary was 'interfering' in the powers of the Executive and said the courts had even ordered the MCD to house the monitoring committee in posh India Habitat Centre, fixed pays of its officials and directed that cars be provided to them. He spoke against the building of malls and shopping complexes and opposed eviction of the poor in the name of beautification.
Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, a parliamentarian from Delhi, said the planning process was to be blamed for the present state of affairs.
"Let there be a proper planning for preparing the master plan keeping in mind requirements of the people of Delhi in the next 20 years with regard to basic infrastructure like water.
Sibal said that since respective governments had failed to fulfill requirements of constructing district centres and shopping complexes, the shops which have come up in residential areas cannot be declared unauthorised.
"These shops are most authorised as these are providing livelihood to many," he said.
Jagdish Tytler (Congress), also a parliamentarian from Delhi, urged the government to keep schools away from such a drive. Lakhs of children, who cannot afford to go to private and public schools, depend on these for education.