New Delhi: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday thanked the Narendra Modi-led government over its decision to give ownership rights to 40 lakhs people living in unauthorised colonies in the national capital. Addressing a press conference, soon after the government’s decision, CM and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener said,”This has been an old demand of the people of Delhi. We welcome this decision and I would like to thank Central govt on behalf of the people.

“We will know this is for real, only if people will get their registry done. Otherwise, it would become another poll gimmick ahead of the elections,” he added. Notably, Delhi has approximately 1,797 unauthorised colonies. The timing of the ‘historic’ decision is significant as the move comes ahead of the Assembly polls in the national capital,  scheduled for early next year.

“We had submitted a proposal to the Centre on July 24 on regularization of unauthorised colonies. The Centre today accepted our proposal. Our government invested 6000 crores to bring changes in these colonies”, CM Kejriwal added further.

On the other hand, BJP’s cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir took a sharp dig at the Kejriwal government in Delhi which has been espousing the cause for long. Gambhir tweeted: “They promise, we deliver! 40 lakh people living in around 1,700 unauthorised colonies to get ownership rights thanks to @narendramodi ji led Central Government! This Diwali will be special for Delhi!”

Earlier in the day,  the Union Cabinet approved a proposal to grant ownership rights to people living in unauthorised colonies in Delhi. Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the Centre would also bring a bill in the Winter Session of Parliament to give relief to the residents of the unauthorised colonies in the national capital.

The decision “is applicable to 1,797 identified unauthorised colonies” spread over 175 square km inhabited by people from lower income groups, the minister stated.

In July, the Delhi government proposed a set of parameters to regularise the 1,797 colonies, which include charging one per cent cost of circle rate of land for up to 200 square metre plot from occupants besides a nominal penalty.