- You are here:
- Delhi Villages
It's ironic that our national capital Delhi, which is often termed as a world-class metro, still has over 360 under-developed villages in it. These villages are detached from the city and seem unaware of the tremendous progress all around them.
The development of these villages has only received cursory attention when compared to the urban areas. They seem confined in cramped and unhealthy pockets by the Lal Dora (Red Line), both literally and figuratively, which has reduced them to living in inhuman conditions lacking in basic civic services. They have been deprived of the most fundamental requirements like water, power, sewerage, waste management etc. An expectation of a reasonable investment to help them live a decent life has been thwarted. What is even more alarming is that these villages are not under any ward or rural panchayat, which leaves the fate of the villagers in a pitiful state.
As someone who hails from a village, which is Anandpur in Haryana, this issue has been close to my heart and I have continually tried to bring attention to it through massive rallies and padyatras. My endeavor began in Alipur, where 19 villages sought fair compensation for the lands acquired from them. Surprisingly it was found that the market prices for the lands had gone up to Rs. 3 crore per acre and the Delhi government's offer was a paltry sum of Rs. 75 lakhs per acre. They received a smidgen for the agricultural lands, fields and farms that were taken away from them, killing their primary basis of livelihood, and then resold for huge profits. Adding to the villagers' woes, the government brought in a provision that the farmers who owned up to 8 acres would have to sell all their land as one, restricting their option of selling it in smaller chunks. The government's insensitivity to these villagers was stark and rude. It is surprising to find that in the master plan 2021, DDA does not show any population in these villages, though people have been living there since 1908. Interestingly, 19 of these villages where no population was shown have municipal roads in it. Furthermore several of these lands were declared fit for agriculture so it does not allow the villagers to set-up shops or homes.
Raising the pitch further, I also brought up the issue of property tax. I strongly felt that it was unfair to make people pay for the amenities they never received. In 2010 I led a delegation of representatives from the City's 369 villages to meet the Municipal Commissioner K.S. Mehra. We demanded the abolition of property tax, by amending Delhi Municipal Corporation Act. I reasoned that if income from agriculture is exempt from tax then it is irrational to levy property tax on that land. The fact is that no tax was recovered from the original residents of the rural areas before 2004. I appealed to the MCD to immediately suspend the sending of notices to the villagers as several officials were found threatening the people with MCD notices to take money. The occurrence of this atrocity was admitted by the Commissioner himself. I also sought a meeting of an assembly house to pass a resolution in this regard so that no taxes could be levied on the villages. Emphasis needs to be given on offering government jobs, under special quota, to the original residents of these villages. The same quota could be extended for educational opportunities as well.
For a holistic development of the city, it's imperative to take a few of the following measures on priority:
- Augmenting the Lal Dora area of villages
- Exempting residential units in villages from paying house tax
- Minimum taxes for commercial buildings
- Applying market rates on acquisition of village land
- Making Delhi villages exempted from building bye-laws (as they face different set of problems)
I was pleased to see your reply. You are the first politician who care what his supporter wants and reply in a very humble manner. It's very praise worthy. My all best wishes for upcoming election. It's a changing moment of history.
Sir, it's a request to you kindly raise the issue of unalloted plots to DDA Rohini 1981 scheme. We are waiting for it for 33 years as well as 25000 families are waiting too but DDA has given just paper assurance. Kindly look into the matter sir.