Finally, Delhi is jettisoning a slum rehabilitation policy that was the source of corruption in such projects.
For long, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) “resettled” slum dwellers on the outskirts of the city. It led to nothing but corruption. Squatters sold off land allotted to them and were ready to be “resettled” again. This may change now.
Developers have come forward for developing slums by building apartments on the land occupied by squatters. This has been tried with some success in Mumbai. There’s no reason why it can’t be done in Delhi.
But there’s a big if. The policy change has been announced barely two months before elections in Delhi. It could turn out to be a mere vote-getting exercise. Then there are policy continuity issues: Will the new government continue with the experiment? Developers have been promised freedom to use surplus land in slums after apartment construction. In case there’s no surplus land, they will be given monetary compensation. This could unleash another, more modern, wave of corrupt practices. For the sake of credibility, the Delhi government ought to put in place mechanisms to prevent this.