Vijay Goel

Delhi Villages

It’s ironic that our national capital Delhi, which is often termed as a world-class metro, still has more 360 under-developed villages in it. The development of these villages has received cursory attention compared to urban areas. People inhabiting them 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 such as water, power, healthcare and good education. 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, I have continually tried to bring attention to it through rallies and padyatras. The work began in Alipur, where 19 villages were seeking fair compensation for the lands acquired from them. It was discovered 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 their agricultural lands which were 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 also surprising that in the master plan 2021, DDA does not show any population in these villages, though people have been living there since 1908. Nineteen of these villages where no population was shown have municipal roads in it. Further, many of these lands were declared fit for agriculture so it does not allow the villagers to set-up shops or homes.

Another issue is that of property tax. I find it is unfair to make people pay for the amenities they never receive. I led a delegation of representatives of 369 villages and met 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. In fact 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. 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 to the original residents of these villages under special quota. The same quota could be extended for educational opportunities as well.

Vision for Delhi

My visions for Delhi stems from these inspiring words of Swami Vivekanada. I sincerely believe that Delhi has enough number of brave, bold men and women who can make it not only one of the best cities.

My vision for Delhi is that it should be a city of opportunities where people

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