City colonies regularized only on paper: CAG report

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NEW DELHI: Expressing concern that Rs 542 crore spent by the Delhi government on development of unauthorized colonies might be in vain, the comptroller and auditor general has said regularization of these colonies remains only “on paper”.

The CAG report, currently awaiting the Delhi government’s response, questions almost every aspect of the Sheila Dikshit government’s efforts to regularize 895 unauthorized colonies, ahead of the assembly polls later this year.

The auditor deals with the 895 colonies though the government is looking at a list of 1,639 unauthorized colonies. Their regularization is a key part of the Congress’s election strategy to woo a large section of voters, with 1,200 colonies given provisional regularization certificates (PRCs) just ahead of the last assembly elections in 2008.

The audit points out non-compliance of regularization formalities within 12 months of the issue of PRCs as promised in the amended guidelines of 2008. “These amendments and deletion of sub-clauses allowed the state government to announce regularization of 895 colonies without clearance of layout plans, change of land use, without collection of development charges by local bodies … These formalities are still to be completed by the state. Thus, the period of 12 months set out still remains on paper,” the report observes.

CAG has said the government had released Rs 631 crore for development work between 2007 and 2012 to agencies and Rs 542 crore were spent tentatively but “…one or the other basic services (mandatory for regularization according to Supreme Court orders) like water, sanitation, drains and roads are unavailable”.

The auditor has also said it has received only a fraction of all the files it needs and much of the record is not available. “Detailed status of development work, along with utilization certificates, and physical and financial status have not been provided to audit till date.” The money has been released to various agencies like MCD, DSIIDC, DJB, PWD and the irrigation and flood control department.

The audit points out the procedure adopted for fixation of boundary by the Delhi government violates the 2008 regularization guidelines that were further revised in 2012.

Urban development secretary R K Srivastava told TOI: “It is our constitutional responsibility to reply to audit and we have done so in nearly 50% of the audit memos so far. Files are moving all the time as decisions on regularization are still being taken. The audit teams are being provided with the documents. CAG will file the final report after taking our replies into consideration.”

The report said the regularization claims might be misplaced. The government “has declared the colonies as regularized without proper verification of boundaries fixed from the revenue department and DDA, which is irregular and misleading to the general public”, the report has said.

The audit inspection report cites the September 2012 order of regularization where the Delhi government declared 312 colonies on private land as regularized and said 583 colonies on government land will stand regularized from the date of recovery of cost of public land. But this was never done.

Going back to 2008, the CAG said, “The issue of PRCs does not change the status of the colony as the secretary, UD, stated that there was no pre-condition of issue of these certificates before regularization of unauthorized colonies.”

The auditor has said the expenditure incurred on issue of PRCs was an excess burden on exchequer as the certificates did not alter the status of the colonies as they were not linked to fulfilment of norms regarding any basic services.


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