Chandigarh, March 9: Around 60,000 slum dwellers across the state will get the much-needed basic amenities, along with proprietary rights, following the enactment of “The Punjab Slum Dwellers (Proprietary Rights) Act, 2020” by the Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab government.

The legislation, passed in the Vidhan Sabha recently, will transform the urban slum areas, thus promoting sustainable growth of the cities, according to an official spokesperson, who underlined the importance of the Act in addressing the needs of the slum dwellers, in line with Captain Amarinder’s commitment to the same.

The state government had decided to bring in the legislation to ensure civic amenities for slum dwellers instead of opting for the costly and cumbersome process of evicting them through the legal process, said the spokesperson. Also, with a large chunk of the land under occupation by slum dwellers not generating any revenue, the government felt it was not necessary to vacate the same. At present, approximately 60,000 slum dwellers are living in 89 slums in 29 cities in the state.

The legislation would go a long way in ensuring inclusive growth of the slum dwellers besides upgrading the infrastructure in the urban areas, said the spokesperson, adding that the new law would entitle the slum dwellers occupying land in a slum in any urban area to being settled in the land occupied by him. If it was not possible to ensure his/her settlement on the same piece of land, the slum dweller would be settled on alternate land, as identified by the state government.

Following their settlement, the slum dwellers would get proprietary right to the land, after the concerned municipalities adopt the legislation through a resolution, according to the spokesperson. In accordance with the Act, the proprietary rights of the land to slum dwellers shall be inheritable but not transferable for 30 years.

A special feature of this Act is that the proprietary rights of the land shall be transferred in the joint name of both spouses if marriage has taken place.

Further, as per the Act, if the land, currently occupied by slum dwellers, belongs to the Government or its statutory Board or Corporation, then they may be settled on the same after the government’s consent.

If the slum dweller belongs to EWS category, the proprietary right of land shall be settled free of cost, while for non EWS category, it will be settled at such rates which the Government may decide from time to time.

To make the entire exercise hassle-free for the slum dwellers, a large number of documents have been made applicable, under the Act, to help the dwellers provide evidence of occupation of land.

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