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Regularization of colonies: AAP govt. to use real time surveys to clear bottlenecks

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New Delhi: Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party government has decided not to use satellite images in determining boundaries of what are called unauthorized colonies – which has proved to be a bottleneck for years in their regularization – and instead go in for real-time surveys, officials said.

After the government found that satellite images lacked accuracy in determining the boundaries, the Arvind Kejriwal government has employed Total Station Machine (TSM) Survey for the task – a method officials describe as “more accurate and reliable”.

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses at the flagging-off ceremony of Mechanical Sweepers at Kalibari Marg in New Delhi, on June 4, 2015. (Photo: IANS)Following irregularities in the process of authorizing such settlements in 2012, the then Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government had asked the Survey of India to provide satellite images for verifying built-up areas in these settlements.

“There were many problems in determining boundaries through satellite images. You cannot rely on satellite images when it comes to unauthorized colonies in Delhi,” a government official told IANS.

“TSM is more of a manual method. People engaged in surveying will go to these colonies with equipment. It is an important step. You cannot progress in regularizing colonies till you demarcate their boundaries,” he added.

“The good part is that people engaged in the survey will visit these colonies.”

In the method, an electronic or optical instrument theodolite, used in modern surveying and building construction, as it can measure slope distance, vertical angle, and horizontal angle from a set-up point to a foresight point is employed.

“Two private agencies had been hired to do this. It will be first used in the 895 unauthorized colonies notified for regularization,” the official said.

Like the previous Congress regime, the AAP government has also promised to regularize unauthorized colonies.

The Dikshit government had in 2008 decided to regularize 895 of the 1,639 unauthorized colonies. However, none of them has been regularized till date.

“It is the boundary issue. How will you prepare a layout if the boundary is not there,” a senior government official, who did not want to be named, told IANS.

Of 1.18 crore people in Delhi, some 50 lakh live in unauthorized settlements which are devoid of basic facilities.

The AAP government had this week said that it would work towards the regularization of the national capital’s unauthorized colonies by initiating steps like boundary fixation and asking the MCD to prepare layout plans for such colonies. (IANS)

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AAP’S Media Spend Is Four Times That Of Previous Government: RTI Reply

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP's one year in power in 2016

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Picture of Arvind Kejriwal addressing a rally. Wikimedia Commons
  • The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore
  • The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government
  • A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016

The AAP government has spent an average of Rs 70.5 crore annually in the past three years on advertisements — four times more than the previous government’s expenditure on print, electronic and outdoor advertising, according to an RTI reply.

In the first year after assuming office in February 2015, the current government spent Rs 59.9 crore on advertisements, Rs 66.3 crore the next year and Rs 85.3 crore up to December 31, 2017, the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) said in reply to an RTI application by IANS.

The average annual expenditure of the AAP government on advertisements from April 2015 to December 2017 was Rs 70.5 crore. The Congress’ average was Rs 17.4 crore in the last five years of its rule (2008-2013).

Also Read: AAP welcomes BJP’s stand on inter-faith marriages

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers.

For instance, when the AAP government completed its first and second anniversary in 2016 and 2017, leading newspapers in the capital carried full-page advertisements, highlighting the achievements of the government.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons
The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there. Wikimedia Commons

In the run-up to celebrating its three years in office, the government in the first two weeks of February carried advertisements flashing pictures of the Chief Minister or other ministers. The highlights included the inauguration of community toilets, excellence awards distribution for students, a government meeting on “smart gaon”, and invitation of applications for scholarship schemes.

The AAP government’s spending on advertisements increased by about 300 percent compared to the Congress government.

Also Read: Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

But the average advertisement rate charged by a leading English newspaper, comparing the Congress government and AAP government periods, has increased by about 17 percent, according to DAVP.

For the same period, the average rate charged by another leading English newspaper has increased by about 35 percent.

A 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report found that the Delhi government had spent 86 percent of the total budget for its media campaign celebrating the completion of AAP’s one year in power in 2016.

According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons
According to the DIP, the expenditure includes, among others, advertisements with photos of the Chief Minister and other ministers in newspapers and hoardings, commercial spots on TV and radio, and tender notices published in newspapers. Wikimedia Commons

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements.

Last year, the government came under an opposition attack after Lt. Governor Anil Baijal asked the AAP to cough up Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, allegedly to promote the party instead of the government. The LG order was based on a report by the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).

Also Read: 5 Years of AAP: How Society Has Been Backstabbed by ChandaChor Kejriwal

The regulatory authority asked the Delhi government to assess the expenditure in issuing “those advertisements/advertorials in which the name of the Aam Aadmi Party is mentioned” and other factors.

The Delhi government approached the High Court and the matter is currently pending there.

Delhi government spokesperson Nagendar Sharma said he has “no comments” to offer on the increase in expenditure.

The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons
The auditor pulled up the government for using the name of the party in the advertisements. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Congress President Ajay Maken said: “They (AAP) are using the power of advertisements to put pressure on TV (channels) and newspapers. They are doing it ruthlessly”.

BJP MLA and Delhi Assembly Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta termed the government’s spending on advertisements as “irrational”. “Misuse of public money in this way is completely unjustified and unethical,” Gupta told IANS. (IANS)