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Resolution on exemption to villages defeated

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, MARCH 18. A private member's resolution which proposed that "all the villages in Delhi be exempted from the purview of the building by-laws" and was put to vote in the Delhi Legislative Assembly today by the Bharatiya Janata Party was defeated by a voice vote as despite favouring the resolution individually, the Congress members voted against it after the Finance Minister, A.K. Walia, informed the House that the Supreme Court had withdrawn this exemption granted to villages.

However, the discussion on the matter saw almost all the members voicing their concerns about the law which had financially burdened the rural folk. While the resolution was moved by A. Dayanand Chandila of the BJP, Bheeshm Sharma of the Congress demanded that the exemptions be extended to all buildings on plots of 100 square yards or less also.

The Leader of Opposition, Jagdish Mukhi, said while at the time of acquisition of their land, the villagers are promised a plot on the developed land and jobs for their children, the promises are almost never kept. Further, he said, while in the acquisition of their farming land, the villagers also end up losing their only source of livelihood, the Government does little to ameliorate their sufferings.

As a result, he said, most of the villagers have started construction rooms on plots which they let out for making a living. But the extension of building bye-laws on these properties has come as a rude shock to the rural population as it prevents them from constructing rooms without permission for letting them out.

Another Congress MLA, Veer Singh Dhingan, said the building bye-laws also speak about providing at least 12 feet of road space for allowing access to fire tenders in the event of an emergency. But as this was not possible in most existing villages, he exhorted the Government to raise the issue and also not to disconnect the power and water supply to the existing structures.

However, Dr. Walia said when an area is changed from rural to urban and is notified, the building bye-laws become applicable. And since the Supreme Court has ordered in M.C. Mehta versus Union of India that exemption to rural villages be withdrawn he pleaded that the resolution be withdrawn. But the BJP insisted on having it passed and Mr Mukhi said this would help make known will of the House.

Subsequently, the resolution was put to vote and was defeated. At this the BJP members accused the Congress of being "anti-villagers" and the party members staged a walk-out in protest.

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