HP Assembly passes property rights bill for Slumdwellers

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Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source: Internet
Shimla, Mar 15
Himachal Pradesh Assembly passed a new legislation confering the property rights to Slumdwellers in the state.
This legislation (HP Slumdwellers (Property Rights) Bill 2022) was introduced in the state assembly by Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj on Monday.  The bill was passed by voice vote on Tuesday on the last day of the budget session.
In the bill, provision has been made to confer the property rights of those slum dwellers who have been occupying the slums since Feb 21,1974 not exceeding 75 square meter(two Biswa) area in the state.Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said that a large population is residing in slums despite several housing policies. The slum dwellers are residing in poorly built tenements or temporary built tenements, rounded together with inadequate sanitation and unhygienic conditions. He said that it is the responsibility of the Government and society to take steps to improve the living standards of these slum dwellers so that they can live their life with dignity and respect. The slum dwellers have been living in these slums for decades together with a constant threat of eviction and demolition of their tenements. This has also been creating hindrance to provide basic civic services in these areas. Therefore, the Government has decided to confer inheritable proprietary rights to the slum dwellers of land occupied by them for decades together. In case of untenable habitations, the slum dwellers shall be rehabilitated elsewhere.
He said that this will facilitate sustainable growth of civic amenities in these areas, which in turn will be helpful in providing a healthy and qualitative life to these people. He said that in order to approve the list of persons on whom the proprietary rights will be conferred, a Slum Area Redevelopment and Rehabilitation Committee shall be constituted under the Chairmanship of the Collector concerned in each urban area.
Participating in the discussion on the bill CPM Member Rakesh Singha said that why the government is selective this bill must be for all rural dwellers too. He said that in the bill provision made that for these dwellers forest land will be diverted under Forest Conservation Act, He said that under this Act forest land can be diverted only for govt projects. Minister said  that for this purpose MC land, Govt undertakings and Corporation and boards ‘ land will be used, He said that section-2 of  FCA Act provides that govt can take permission for the diversion of the land. Individuals will not take this permission.
Member said that this is not a legal  but political Act as MC Shimla election is going to commence in coming days.  He said that  1.67 lac cases are already pending in different courts of the state because during earlier BJP govt, a policy had been brought to regularise the illegal possession on govt land. People gave the affidavit but later on the bases of these affidavits eviction proceedings were initiated against them. The member advised not to repeat the same mistake again just for the political gains. Congress MLA Sukhvinder Singh said that this act must be sent to the select committee and if Govt wanted to bring the bill in hurry it should be exempted from TCP, MC and Forest Act.
About Change in MC act
With the motive to increase number of wards in Shimla Municipal Corporation from 37 to 41 and to extends the powers of Collectors or Commissioners, two bills were passed in the state legislative assembly here on Tuesday. Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said that state government have brought out an ordinance by changing sec 6 of the HP Municipal Corporation Act, 1994 as the number of total seats to be filled by direct election in SMC shall not exceed above 41 that of thirty seven and each ward the  population shall not be less than 2500. Minister said that it has been observed that in many wards , the population has increased many fold.  He said that elected councillors have to face difficulty to cater to the demands and needs of a high population . ” In order to ensure proper arrangements of civic amenities, balanced growth and people ‘s participation in development activities, the limit of maximum number of wards is needed to be increased. ”  He said that now , the said ordinance is being replaced by a regular enactment without any modification.
Later the bill was passed by voice votes however CPM member Rakesh Singha opposed the bill demanding to increase the number of wards of Shimla MC to 37. Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue amendment bill Revenue Minister Mahinder Singh Thakur said that bills proposed to cut short the channel of revision petition so that collectors is empower to recommended FC to call record of any case pending before or disposed of by any Revenue Officer subordinate to him or instituted before him and may pass such order as he think fit provided that he shall not under this section pass an order reversing or modifying the proceeding or order of the subordinate Revenue Officer and effecting any question of right between private persons without giving those persons an opportunity of being heard. The existing provisions of Himachal Pradesh Land Revenue Act, 1954 causing duplicay and pendency of cases if collectors wanted to give his opinion in the revenue matters, he added. The bill was passed unanimously as Opposition also supported the bill.

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