The Aam Aadmi Party government has decided to grant ownership rights to around 7,200 families that got agricultural land in the mid-70s, under a programme for landless people. Under the ’20-point programme’, launched during former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s tenure in 1975-76, around 12,500 landless families in Delhi got land for cultivation, according to officials. “At that time, there were around 360 villages in Delhi. Around 12,500 families from these villages got plots measuring an acre or less,” Delhi’s social justice minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said.
Recognised as ‘Asamis’ or tenants, these families were required to apply for land ownership with the revenue department. Some of them found a way around the bureaucratic process and secured ownership rights to their land, while the others, mainly from Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes, could not, ‘because they could not afford to bribe officers’, an official claimed. “Left in the lurch, these families still do not have land rights. Considering the rapid rate of urbanisation in the national capital, new housing and infrastructure projects will be undertaken. Therefore, they face a serious threat of eviction,” Gautam said.
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People with ownership rights receive good compensation when the agencies acquire their land for government projects. They have access to economic opportunities, while these 7,200 families in 89 villages of Delhi are vulnerable to displacement, without any compensation, the minister said. “These families have been moving from pillar to post for the last 40 years. The Delhi government had even convened a special session on the issue, around one-and-a-half years ago. Still, not much has been achieved. The files keep oscillating between the centre and the city government,” he alleged.
Land rights have been granted under the 20-point programme across the country. Only Delhi is lagging behind, Gautam claimed. Recently, at a meeting convened by the minister and chief secretary Vijay Dev, district magistrates, divisional commissioners and the principal secretary (revenue) were directed to dispose of the pending cases at the earliest. An official said district magistrates have started meeting such families and the cases will be disposed of soon.
Give ownership rights to gram sabha land allottees: Delhi CM to L-G
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged Lt Governor Anil Baijal, to grant ownership rights to thousands of families who were allotted small plots of gram sabha land in the 1970s and 1980s
June 15, 2017: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Lt Governor Anil Baijal, demanding ownership rights to those who were allotted small plots of gram sabha land, under the centre’s 20-point programme, around four decades back.
Kejriwal said thousands of families living in Mehrauli, Najafgarh, Kanjhawala, Narela and Alipur villages, who were allotted small plots of gram sabha land in the 1970s and early 1980s, were facing hardship. He said the basic objective of these land allocations, was to eradicate poverty and to improve the quality of life of the poor and the under-privileged sections of the rural community.
Later, talking to reporters on the issue, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the Delhi government had already approved the Bhumidhari (ownership) right in 2012, but as the then L-G had a difference of opinion on this issue, he had referred the matter to the President.
“Since then, this issue is pending with the President. Either the L-G withdraws this reference from the President and grants approval to the Bhumidhari rights, or the L-G may use his good offices, to get this proposal passed from the centre and President,” Kejriwal said in the letter.
He also said that the Lt Governor has the authority to take decisions on land-related matters that fall under his jurisdiction. “I have been informed that those who are still in possession of the allotted land and are carrying out agricultural activities, as per the allotment of conditions, have a statutory right to the grant of Bhumidhari rights, over such parcels of land,” Kejriwal said in the letter.